Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Spicy "Fried" Chicken Spinach Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

We have made a bunch of variations on this salad before with our Spicy "Fried" Chicken Cutlets.  We tend to vary the type of greens, the dressing and the veggies that go in the salad, but this might be my favorite combination yet.  I thought the buttermilk dressing was really nicely fresh and tangy and it worked really well with the spicy "fried" chicken.  I have always been hesitant to use mayonnaise in salad dressing, but it worked beautifully here.  Now that I have learned my lesson I won't be such a chicken in the future when it comes to using mayonnaise in my salad dressings and/or sauces.  You can include any number of veggies (we had cucumbers and radishes in the fridge) and any salad green (baby spinach this time) so consider those ingredients as mere suggestions, but I highly recommend the combination of the dressing and the chicken!

Recipe after the jump!

Spicy "Fried" Chicken Spinach Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
For chicken
4 thin-cut chicken breasts/cutlets
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tbsp Tabasco
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/4 tsp black pepper, plus additional
1 tsp kosher salt, plus additional
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup lightly crushed cornflakes
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
For dressing
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 shallot, peeled and minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, minced1 1/2 tbsp mint, minced
For salad
spinach (or other salad green of your choice)
thinly sliced radishes
thinly sliced English cucumbers
cherry tomatoes, halved

Mix buttermilk, Tabasco, mustard, garlic, 1/4 tsp pepper and 1 tsp kosher salt in a large baking dish.  Add chicken cutlets.  Turn to coat.  Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours (turning chicken cutlets over halfway through).  Remove chicken breasts from marinade and either drain on cooling rack or pat dry with paper towels.
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.  Create a breading station using shallow pans or bowls.  The first shallow pan should have the flour, paprika, cayenne pepper, s&p.  Stir to combine.  The second shallow pan should have the lightly beaten egg, mixed with 1 tsp of cold water.  The last shallow pan should have the panko breadcrumbs, cornflakes, and Parm-Reg.  Dip each chicken cutlet into the flour mixture, then the egg, and then the panko breadcrumb mixture.  Be sure to shake off excess flour and egg before proceeding onto the next step.  Coat both sides of the chicken cutlets in panko breadcrumbs, patting to make sure panko adheres if necessary.  Place cooling rack over a rimmed cookie sheet.  Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.  Place chicken cutlets on cooling rack.  Make sure that chicken cutlets aren't touching each other to allow even air circulation and even crisping.  Spray top side of chicken cutlets lightly with cooking spray.

Bake chicken until cooked through and the breadcrumbs are nice and golden, about 15 minutes.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine buttermilk, mustard, mayonnaise, vinegar, shallot, sugar, herbs and salt and pepper to taste in a mason jar and shake until thoroughly mixed. 

Serve spinach topped with vegetables of your choice and chicken.  Drizzle with dressing.  Serve immediately.

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