From the Pinot Grigio chapter of “100 Perfect Pairings: Main Dishes to Enjoy with Wines You Love” by Jill Silverman Hough (Wiley, 2011)
There’s a reason this salad—reportedly invented at Hollywood’s Brown Derby restaurant and definitely popularized by it—is still enjoyed over seventy years later. It’s a perfect combination of light and rich, salty and savory, refreshing and intense. A bright-yet-creamy dressing makes it the perfect foil for Pinot Grigio.
Total time:0 Minutes
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup white or golden balsamic vinegar (see note)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large or 2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 12 ounces)
- 1 head butter lettuce, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces (you should have 8 or 9 cups)
- 8 thick slices crisp-cooked bacon, crumbled or chopped
- 1 large or 2 small avocados, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled, halved, and chopped
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 3 ounces)
- 1/2 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper, whisking to dissolve the salt. Set aside. (You can prepare the dressing up to 3 days in advance, storing it covered in the refrigerator.)
In a medium saucepan of barely simmering, well-salted water (1 tablespoon of coarse kosher salt per quart), poach the chicken, uncovered, for 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it stand, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to cool completely, then cut it into 1/2-inch dice. (You can prepare the chicken up to 2 days in advance, storing it covered in the refrigerator.)
Arrange the lettuce on a platter or plates. Arrange the chicken, bacon, avocados, eggs, cherry tomatoes, and cheese on top, dividing them evenly. Sprinkle with the onion, drizzle with the dressing, and serve.
NOTE You could say that white or golden balsamic vinegar is to balsamic vinegar as white grape juice is to grape juice—they're similar, but the white version is lighter and fruitier. You can find white or golden balsamic in most supermarkets and wherever regular balsamic is sold.