Fine Cooking, Make It Tonight column, June/July 2012
Just 30 minutes to dinner, start to finish
Spinach Salad with Chicken, Strawberries, Blue Cheese, and Almonds
This salad is a great way to celebrate strawberry season. Buy the freshest fruit you can find and rinse it just before using. Serve with a hunk of warm, crusty bread and a glass of rosé.
2 Tbs. plus 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 3/4 lb.), tenders removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp. honey
1 medium shallot, minced
6 oz. loosely packed spinach leaves (about 16 cups)
8 oz. strawberries, stemmed and quartered (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 oz. crumbled blue cheese (about 3/4 cup)
Heat 2 Tbs. of the olive oil in a 12-in. skillet over medium heat until shimmering hot. Pat the chicken dry and season with 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Cook, turning once, until just cooked through, about 10 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest, loosely covered with foil, for 5 minutes.
While chicken cooks, toast the almonds in a dry 10-in. skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until evenly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil with the vinegar, honey, shallot, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries, blue cheese, and almonds and toss with enough of the dressing to coat. Arrange the salad on a platter or plates. Slice the chicken and arrange on the salad. Drizzle with some of the remaining vinaigrette, if desired, and serve.