Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Espresso Infused Balsamic Vinegar Chicken Salad

My Land! I haven't hit one out of the ball park like this for a while now! I'm still delirious with excitement from my olive oil shopping trip from the weekend. I actually haven't been able to sleep because I've been thinking up ways to put my goods to creative use. I drew my inspiration for this recipe from one of my favourite European traditions. I love how they serve their espresso with a tray of cheese and fruits and nuts. So classically elegant, and not to mention delicious. What a lovely way to relax and visit with your guests after being in the kitchen all day cooking for them! I wanted those flavours and also to really feature my new Espresso Balsamic Vinegar. So why not make it a healthy main course?

For this recipe, you'll need:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
a package of arugula
herbs (since I have a jazzy herb garden, I used cilantro, basil and Thai basil)
a pack of goat cheese (chevre if we're puttin' on the ritz!)
a can of mandarin pieces
a handful or so of chopped walnut pieces

And for the dressing:
1/2 cup of olive oil (I of course used my new Tuscan herb infused)
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar - Espresso infused if you're as fortunate as I am!
a splash of pure maple syrup (since I love to roll homeland proud!)
zest and juice of 1/2 a big naval orange
a teaspoon of red curry paste
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
whisk this all up and put it in a jar in the fridge to chill

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Season your chicken breasts with salt, pepper, a light sprinkling of allspice and a teaspoon of your balsamic vinegar brushed on each one. Bake them off on a cookie sheet lined with tin foil and sprayed with Pam for about 35 - 40 minutes. Take them out of the oven and let them rest for about 10 minutes. Then slice or chop into bite size chunks.

Chop your herbs roughly and toss them around with your arugula. Drizzle some dressing and toss until they're moistened, but not sloppy. Add your nuts, mandarins, chopped up chicken and break up your goat cheese over your greens. Drizzle more dressing over the top of everything and season with freshly ground pepper. And serve it up! So easy and fast. I took one bite and wanted to retire at once from my day job and stay home to infuse vinegars and olive oils for my new career! Yum!

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