Arugula Salad with Chicken, Strawberries, and Almonds / Pan-searing gets the chicken golden and nicely caramelized, while the berries contribute sweet contrast. From my mini e-cookbook "Finger Lickin' Chicken."

Spinach Salad with Chicken, Strawberries, Blue Cheese, and Almonds

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From my mini e-cookbook “Finger Lickin’ Chicken” and slightly adapted from a recipe I created for Fine Cooking magazine. Get 11 more simple, scrumptious chicken recipes by getting the book on Amazon or iTunes.

There’s almost nothing I love more than a flavorful salad with chunks of chicken on top, and this might be my favorite version. Pan-searing gets the chicken golden and nicely caramelized, while the berries contribute sweet contrast. You can also grill the chicken, which will add slight smokiness to the mix.

Make it during the summer, when strawberries are at their best (see this post for more tips about buying and using berries). Other times of year, use other fruits—pears, figs, or apples in the fall, oranges in the winter, and tangerines in the spring.

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 3/4 pound total), tenders removed
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 6 ounces loosely packed baby spinach or arugula (about 12 cups) (see note below)
  • 8 ounces strawberries, stemmed and quartered (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 ounces crumbled blue cheese (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

In a very large skillet over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle the chicken with 2 teaspoons of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the pepper. Place the chicken in the skillet, smooth or skin side down, and cook until just cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest, loosely covered with foil, for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/3 cup of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper with the vinegar, honey, and shallot, whisking to dissolve the salt. In a large bowl, combine the arugula, strawberries, blue cheese, and almonds with dressing to taste. Arrange the salad on plates or a platter.

Slice the chicken and arrange it on the salad. Drizzle with any remaining dressing and serve.

NOTE For the salad in the photo, I used arugula.

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