My Recipe Box

Baby Romaine Salad with Spicy Chicken & Warm Chipotle Vinaigrette


Serves 4

  • To learn more, read:
    Warm Salads for Dinner
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 74

A warm vinaigrette brings the sauté and the greens together, giving the finished dish the dressiness of a composed salad and the simplicity of a one-pot meal.

  • 6 oz. baby romaine, washed and spun dry (about 8 loosely packed cups)
  • 1/4 lb. iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced, washed and spun dry (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 chipotle chile (from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce), chopped, plus 2 Tbs. adobo sauce
  • 3 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs. fine cornmeal (preferably white)
  • 1 Tbs. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1-1/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 small), cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick strips
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced into half moons
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels (from about 2 ears)
  • 1 lime, cut into quarters

Toss the romaine, iceberg, and half of the cilantro in a large bowl. In a blender or food processor, purée the chipotle chile and adobo sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, brown sugar, and mustard. With the machine running, slowly pour in 1/2 cup of the oil. Transfer to a measuring cup; season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a shallow dish, mix the flour, cornmeal, chili powder, and cumin with 1-1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Season the chicken with 1 tsp. salt and then dredge in the flour mixture.

Heat 2 Tbs. of the remaining oil in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it’s shimmering, about 1 minute. Add half of the chicken strips, evenly spaced, and cook without touching for 2 min. Flip and cook until the strips are just cooked through and firm to the touch, 1 to 2 min. Transfer to a large plate lined with ­paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil, and cook the remaining strips in the same manner.

Discard the fat from the pan and wipe it clean with paper ­towels. Set the pan over low heat, add the vinaigrette, and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula, until warmed through, about 1 min. Return the vinaigrette to a liquid measuring cup and whisk to recombine.

Gently toss the greens with about 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette or enough to lightly coat. Portion among four plates and top with the chicken, onion, avocado, corn, and the remaining 1/4 cup cilantro. Drizzle with some of the remaining vinaigrette (you may not need it all) and serve with lime wedges on the side for squeezing over the salads.

Serving Suggestions

Start off with Homemade Tortilla Chips and finish the meal with a refreshing Mango-Lime Granita.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on four servings, Calories (kcal): 580, Fat (kcal): 38, Fat Calories (g): 340, Saturated Fat (g): 6, Protein (g): 33, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 26, Carbohydrates (mg): 30, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 4.5, Sodium (g): 890, Cholesterol (g): 80, Fiber (g): 8,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Really good one-dish dinner- seemed healthy. Great with the suggested Mango-lime Granita for dessert. Down-side: long prep time and problems with the dressing. They should have had the sun-dried tomatoes in a tablespoon or cup measurement. My sun-dried tomatoes come already chopped. Dressing did not hold together, and even though I have a quality Breville blender, it did not really puree the tomatoes and chile. But the solids were very tasty and I just incorporated them into the salad an used the remaining oil mixture for the dressing.

I gave this four stars for the dressing and the nice combination of ingredients that made for a pretty presentation. One bone to pick: I buy sun-dried tomatoes that are already chopped, so I haven't a clue what quantity makes up one tomato. I had to guess at the amount, but the dressing came out very tasty anyway. Only four stars because I don't think the chicken is very special this way. Next time, I'd omit the breading, marinate it in lime, garlic, red pepper flakes, and olive oil and do it on a ridged grill pan. Breading wasn't necessary, and the chili powder didn't add much. Plus, since I used a nonstick skillet to fry the chicken, there was a only a negligible amount of bits left in the pan in which to heat up the dressing.

I did the recipe as written but substituted Italian Parsley for Cilantro since I have Cilantro-phobes amongst my cooking audience. First, the chipotle flavor is dominant so you have to like that to start with. Second, prep time was extensive (for a salad anyway) ... it took me about 45 minutes of washing, spinning, chopping, breading, sauteing, etc. In the end, after all the work, it was highly OK. If I had it a restaurant I would eat 7/8 of it and say, "hmmm, that was interesting." Then order something else the next time I went there. In the unlikely event that I make this again, I would amend it with beans, chips ... whatever; but focus more on the tex-mex chile aspect of the dish that has been suggested by other commentators.

We absolutely loved this salad! The salad dressing is awesome. I added 1 clove of garlic and squirt of lime juice to the dressing as well. For the salad, I used mixed greens and added some iceberg for crunch, plus black beans and tomatoes in addition to the corn and avocado. I also used shredded rotisserie chicken to make a quick and delicious meal.

I absolutely LOVE this recipe! It is so delicious regardless of the kind of greens you use. I picked some fresh mix from my garden on my deck! I made half the recipe because there were only two of us ... and all the dressing and a couple days later used it to spice up another salad!! Thanks so much!! It is now one of my favorites!!

My family loved the chicken in this recipe. I halved the salt in the recipe and still found it a bit salty.

This is one of my favorite salad dressings ever. I usually add a clove of garlic and a squirt of lime to the dressing too. I have made this at home for my boyfriend and me and for groups of 30 at a cooking job I have. Everyone always raves about it. I use whatever salad ingrediants I have on hand-so the veggies vary everytime. Often I add black beans, homemade fried tortilla strips and cotija or feta cheese. Really though, it is the dressing that makes this salad.

This is our favorite summer salad! The flavors of the avocado, corn and cilantro are fabulous with the spice of the vinaigrette! We use boneless, skinless, chicken thighs instead of the breasts as this seems to result in a more moist chicken.

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