Sunday, July 1, 2012

Southern BBQ Rotisserie Chicken Salad

This salad came about as an easy and lazy way to make a midweek dinner.  I have friends who pick up a rotisserie chicken and a big bag of mixed greens every week and use them to make salads for lunch every day.  Now I don't have the motivation to make lunch every day, although I really should because it is the financially responsible thing to do.  But I can't eat the same thing for lunch every day - I just get bored with it and then end up going out to pick something up anyway.  But I decided that a salad with rotisserie chicken and a selection of farmers' market produce would be a brilliant idea for a quick and easy dinner.  Then I got it in my head that we should make this a Southern salad once we saw that Zabars had BBQ rotisserie chickens.  So Alex whipped up a batch of this Crispy Corn Bread, which I had set aside for future corn bread crouton use.  I love corn bread croutons.  And then we stuck with the Southern theme and the Lee Bros and made their Buttermilk-Lime Dressing too.

The best thing about this salad was that it was easy to throw together and involved a number of wonderful ingredients.  Oh and the corn bread croutons.  I loved the corn bread croutons.  They were the star of the show for me.  I thought the combination of the sweetness of the roasted corn, the creaminess of the avocado, and the acidity of the tomatoes were really wonderful together.  I really liked the dressing, but I am not certain that it was the ideal dressing for this salad.  I wish the dressing had a little more punch and substance to it.  The dressing is tart, fresh and acidic, but it needed a little more body.  So I might try the salad again, but try a new dressing....  This dressing is marvelous with fried green tomatoes where its freshness and acidity cuts through the richness of the fried green tomatoes.  But this salad really needed something a little richer.

Recipe after the jump!

Southern BBQ Rotisserie Chicken Salad

6 cups mixed salad greens (we used 5 lbs. of Dirt's big mix)
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 BBQ rotisserie chicken, white meat shredded
1 avocado, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 ear of sweet corn, charred/roasted and sliced off the cob (we charred our corn over the gas burner on our stove top)
Buttermilk-Lime Dressing (see below)
Crispy Corn Bread (see below), cut into 1-inch cubes and toasted

Toss salad greens with tomatoes, chicken, avocado, corn, and drizzle with dressing.  Top with corn bread croutons.


Crispy Corn Bread
The Lees Bros. Southern Cookbook
By Matt Lee and Ted Lee
1 tbsp lard or unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups stone-ground cornmeal (yellow or white)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups whole or lowfat buttermilk
2 tbsp unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Grease a 12-inch skillet with the lard (or butter), leaving any excess in the pan, and place it in the oven.
In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together.  In a medium bowl, whisk the egg until frothy and then whisk in the buttermilk.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix thoroughly.  Melt the butter in a small skillet over low heat, and whisk the butter into the batter.
When the fat in the large skillet is smoking, carefully remove the skillet from the oven and swirl the fat around to coat the bottom and the sides of the pan evenly.  Pour the batter into the skillet; it should sizzle alluringly.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until the top of the bread is golen brown and the edge has pulled away from the side of the skillet.  
Remove from the oven.

Buttermilk-Lime Dressing
The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook
By Matt Lee and Ted Lee
3/4 cup whole or lowfat buttermilk (preferably whole, but we used lowfat)
5 tbsp freshly-squeezed lime juice
2 tbsp evoo
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely minced
1/4 cup scallions, finely minced
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
In a small bowl, whisk the ingredients together until thoroughly combined.  Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator not more than 2 days.

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