Keep your grilled salad simple, flexible

Associated PressJune 12, 2013 

Salad recipes that have fussy lists of ingredients generally irritate me.

I don’t doubt that they are delicious, nor that assembling them just so with just the right blend of flavors and textures makes for a transformative salad experience. It’s simply that my life doesn’t allow for such fuss. To me, the very nature of a salad should be that it brings together whatever is fresh and delicious and marries it all with some oil and acid. Particulars beyond that don’t much matter.

So I give you my recipe for grilled Greek salad. I use the term “recipe” loosely, for you should use this merely as inspiration. Substitute, modify, amplify.

The chicken, for example, is easily replaced with thinly sliced steak. Or turkey tenderloin. Or small cubes of lamb. Or salmon. Don’t have Boston lettuce? Use anything frilly and green. Or even something not so frilly. Heck, use a bed of finely chopped steamed and cooled broccoli if that’s what you have. And substitute at will for the veggies I call for. I like them grilled, but don’t feel compelled. Want something bready? Grill some and add as croutons.

My only request? Don’t use bottled dressing. Make it. Homemade vinaigrette tastes better, is better for you, and makes you a better person. And use your hands when dressing the greens with it. You’ll get much better coverage, making for a much better salad.

GRILLED GREEK CHICKEN SALAD 1/4 cup olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips

2 large red bell peppers, cored and cut into 1/2-inch strips

2 ears corn, husked

2 heads Boston lettuce, roughly chopped

1/2 small red onion, diced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Heat a grill to high.

In a large bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a generous amount of pepper. Whisk well. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the dressing to a medium bowl. Add chicken to the smaller bowl, toss to coat, set aside. Place bell peppers in the larger bowl and toss to coat with remaining dressing, then transfer peppers to a plate. Roll ears of corn in dressing, set them on the plate with peppers.

Set the peppers and corn on the grill. Lower the heat to medium and cook, turning often, until lightly seared and tender, about 3-6 minutes. Return to the plate and set aside. Add the chicken to the grill and cook for 4 minutes per side. Transfer to the plate with the vegetables.

Add lettuce to the large bowl and use your hands to toss it with the dressing, coating each leaf with vinaigrette. Divide greens between 4 serving plates, then top each with some of the peppers and chicken. Divide the red onion and mint between the plates.

Stand each ear of corn on its wide end then cut off the kernels by sawing a knife down the sides. Divide the kernels between the salads, then top with feta cheese. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving: 430 calories; 190 calories from fat (44 percent of total calories); 21 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 105 mg cholesterol; 20 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 8 g sugar; 42 g protein; 560 mg sodium.

Start to finish: 45 minutes Servings: 4

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