Spinach Salad with Chicken, Strawberries, Blue Cheese, and Almonds
This salad, a recipe I created for Fine Cooking magazine’s 30-minutes-or-less Make It Tonight column, is a great way to celebrate strawberry season. Buy the freshest fruit you can find and rinse it just before using (see this post for more tips about buying and using berries). Serve with a hunk of warm, crusty bread and a glass of Rosé.
2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 3/4 pound total), tenders removed
2 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1 medium shallot, minced
6 ounces loosely packed spinach leaves (about 16 cups)
8 ounces strawberries, stemmed and quartered (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 ounces crumbled blue cheese (about 3/4 cup)
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle the chicken with 2 teaspoons of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the pepper. Place the chicken in the skillet, smooth 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.
While chicken cooks, toast the almonds in a dry medium skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
In a small bowl, whisk 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.
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 it on the salad. Drizzle with some of the remaining dressing and serve.