Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘pecans’

Two years ago, my new husband and I retreated to Traverse City, Michigan for a beautiful honeymoon.  We stayed at Chateau Chantal, a vineyard and gorgeous B&B on a peninsula on Lake Michigan (check out the website for breathtaking photographs of the area).  With fall colors bursting on the scene, sparkling blue water all around, and the chilly air driving us deeper under the covers, it was divine.

Here I am basking in a fiery sunset behind the Chateau.

We spent ten days snuggling and meandering through the little town and its boardwalk.

We also ate.  A lot.  Schelde’s quickly established itself as our favorite restaurant in town, and we darkened its doors at leat six times during our stay.  Almost every time we were there, we ordered the same thing, Cherry Chicken Salad.  Traverse City is the world’s cherry capital, so cherries pop up in almost every dish.  No complaints here!  We both adored this salad, and when we returned home and moved into together, I set about recreating it.  I believe I have captured its essence, while tweaking some particulars.  When J asked me to prepare it for our anniversary, I was delighted.  I think we’ll make this a tradition, as it’s such a pleasant reminder of our honeymoon.

With a couple of modifications, this also makes a wonderful side salad.  Nix the chicken and simply sprinkle toasted whole or chopped pecans onto the salad.  I’ve served it like this for everything from a bridal shower to Christmas dinner.  It’s always a hit!  Alternatively, the pecan-crusted chicken can be served on its own with vegetables on the side.  This works well too.

 

Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad with Cherries, Gorgonzola, and Cranberry Vinaigrette

Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1 to 1 1/2 pounds)
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups raw pecan halves
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (Celtic sea salt and Real Salt are two excellent brands)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Vinaigrette (yields ~1 cup)
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons sugar (I prefer Sucanat or Rapadura)

Goodies
mixed baby salad greens, washed and dried
4 ounces dried cherries (use dried cranberries if you want to cut down on the cost)
4 ounces gorgonzola or another blue cheese

Set the oven to 400.  In a food processor or blender, finely chop the pecans.  Pour them onto a plate and stir in the rosemary, salt, and pepper.  In another bowl, lightly beat the egg.

If desired, pound the thick side of the chicken breasts to make them more even in thickness.  (I use a rubber mallet with a piece of waxed paper over the chicken.)  Dip each breast into the egg and then into the pecans, covering completely.  You may need to press the pecan mixture into the chicken.  Arrange the breasts on a baking sheet, then bake for about 20 minutes, or until the breasts are juicy but cooked through.

Meanwhile (or ahead of time), prepare the vinaigrette: Place all ingredients in a blender and whirl until combined well.  You may desire to sweeten the dressing a bit more.  Set aside in the refrigerator.

Distribute the greens among 4 plates and divide the cherries and gorgonzola evenly.  When the chicken is cooked, you may either place a whole breast on each salad, or slice them first.  If you slice them, proceed carefully so you don’t disturb the pecan crust too much.  Drizzle the dressing over the top and serve more alongside.

Alternatively, you could toss the greens with the dressing, cherries, and gorgonzola before distributing them among the plates. 

Enjoy!

Note: Though I have altered it, the vinaigrette is based on this recipe.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »