"Chicken Club" Salad with Kale, Avocado and Dijon-Buttermilk Dressing
I obviously miss Logan whenever he goes away, but as I’ve mentioned before, there are many benefits to flying solo every once in a while. For example, last night I put on my oldest pajama set, slathered my face with coconut oil, and passed out sideways in the center of the bed, while an old episode of 30 Rock blared from my computer. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the perks of single living!
Weeks like these, I have so much more time for judgment-free productivity, a luxury I plan to take advantage of by cleaning out my closets. I’ve been wanting to streamline my hoards wardrobe for a while now, but the task requires trying on all of my clothes to determine what (if anything) can be tossed. Although I’m sure Logan wouldn’t stop me from modeling seventeen black-tie outfits at 6pm on a Tuesday (while drinking Prosecco and listening to “Stay With Me” on a loop), I prefer to do such things in private. It’s more efficient and doesn’t involve unsolicited commentary.
In addition to closet cleaning, I shall also watch hours of nerdy SEO videos on YouTube, experiment with hair masks and keratin gloves at night, and never, ever take out my retainers. Oh, and I’m going to eat a disturbing amount of kale, which is impossible when Logan is in residence.
Ahhhh, kale. It’s taken me a while to warm to the leafy miracle worker, but I’m starting to come around (mostly because it makes me feel smarter and prettier). While I’m still vehemently anti-kale chip, and I’ve yet to actually enjoy a green juice, I am very much on board with a good massaged kale salad. My go-to is this quinoa and cranberry situation, but I decided to seize the roommate-free day and do something a little different with my superfood greens. And that, friends, is how the game-changing “Chicken Club” Salad with Avocado and Dijon-Buttermilk Dressing was born.
As you can see, what we have here is basically a deconstructed club sandwich. There’s sliced chicken breast, sweet cherry tomatoes, crispy turkey bacon (yes, you can use regular bacon if you must), and creamy avocado, all on a bed of kale that’s been massaged until it’s gloriously soft. The richly textured salad is then drizzled with a smooth and tangy Dijon-spiked buttermilk dressing that’s pretty much liquid gold.
Long story short, this hearty, nutrient-packed meal is ridiculously awesome, and not just “for a kale salad.”
Let’s briefly discuss the fancy new way that I cooked the chicken breasts in this recipe, shall we? I stumbled across the technique last week on The Kitchn, and I can honestly say that it’s the most badass culinary discovery I’ve made in a while. Everyone knows that boneless, skinless chicken breasts have a tendency to be sad and dry, but this method yields straight up tender, juicy goodness every single time. It’s foolproof, and I love it.
All you need to do is heat a little olive oil in a saucepan, add the chicken, and cook it for about a minute. Then you lower the heat, cover the pan, and let it cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the stove and leave the chicken to hang out, covered, for another 10 minutes. BOOM, you’re done. The chicken breasts actually poach from the inside out in their own juices, keeping them incredibly moist (sorry) and flavorful.
The only tricky aspect of this technique is that it requires a significant amount of blind trust. You cannot, under any circumstances, lift the lid on the pot. It will be insanely tempting for most of you nervous, helicopter chefs to peek at your chicken, but I need you to resist the urge. Have a cocktail, call your mom, practice your karate moves—whatever it takes to distract yourself for the full 20 minutes, capiche? I promise that if you just let the magic happen (and have a little faith in meeeee), your chicken will be perfect.
Not gonna lie, I’m freakishly excited to eat leftover Chicken Club Salad this evening while I watch The Fault in Our Stars on the comfy side of the couch. If you don’t hear from me on Thursday, please contact the authorities, as I may have drowned in my own tears.
p.s. Tomorrow, September 10 at 12pm EST, I’ll be chatting live with Martha Stewart on her SiriusXM Radio show “Mostly Martha.” If you have SiriusXM, you may want to tune in to channel 109 and listen to me talk about cooking and the blogosphere, while trying not to swear and/or creepily fangirl over one of my domestic idols.
You can also call (866) 675-6675 and ask any burning questions ON AIR. That would make me feel very busy and important…
“Chicken Club” Salad with Kale, Avocado and Dijon-Buttermilk Dressing: (Serves 2)
1 bunch lacinato kale, center ribs removed, chopped
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
Coarse black pepper
3 slices turkey bacon
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes (I used a mix of red and yellow), halved
½ ripe avocado, diced
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons fat-free buttermilk
2 tablespoon Greek yogurt (I used non-fat, but you do you.)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
¼ teaspoon coarse black pepper
Preparing your “Chicken Club” Salad with Kale, Avocado and Dijon-Buttermilk Dressing:
-Let’s start with the kale! Remove the center ribs from the kale, and chop the leaves. Place your chopped kale in a mixing bowl and drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Go ahead and add a good pinch of salt too.
-Massage your kale with the oil and salt for about 3 minutes until the leaves become darkened and soft. When I say “massage,” I literally mean rub handfuls of kale between your fingers. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. Massaging is the key to making kale not gross. Set aside the massaged kale until ready to use.
-Moving on to the chicken. Using the bottom of a mason jar or wide glass, lightly pound your chicken breasts to an even thickness. (We’re not paillard-ing here, people, you just want to make sure that the chicken cooks evenly.)
-Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the olive oil and swirl to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat to medium and add the chicken breasts. Cook for 1 minute and then flip the breasts over. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid, and cook for 10 minutes. DO NOT LIFT THE LID UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. I know it’s hard, but you must not touch, capiche? Trust me.
-After 10 minutes, turn off the heat and let the chicken sit, covered, for an additional 10 minutes. Again, DO NOT LIFT THE LID. Resist the urge. Once the time is up, you can finally remove the lid. (Your chicken will be cooked, but if you’re nervous check it with an instant-read thermometer and make sure it’s at least 165 degrees F.)
-Add the cherry tomatoes, avocado, and chopped turkey bacon to the bowl with the kale and toss to combine. Divide the salad among two bowls or plates. Top with the sliced chicken breasts, drizzle with Dijon-buttermilk dressing, and serve immediately. (You can also chop your chicken and toss everything with the dressing before serving if you prefer.)
Never miss a post!
Get new recipes and lifestyle tips delivered straight to your inbox.