Monday, August 1, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Chopped Salad

If you like hot sauce, this is your recipe. If you don't, don't even bother reading on (and shame on you... I never understand a dislike of all things spicy unless of course for medical reasons). Yummy chopped salad full of healthy vegetables such as broccoli, cucumbers, and carrots gets topped with spicy pan-fried buffalo chicken strips and blue cheese. Drooling, yet? Because I am (yes, I confess I drool at the sight, smell, thought of hot sauce). Sometimes I get an unbelievable craving for buffalo wings, but don't feel like leaving the house or consuming the calories of deep-fried butter-and-hot-sauce-laden chicken wings. This recipe uses skinless boneless chicken breast cutlets, a light coat of breading, and pure hot sauce to get that lip-puckering, mouth-burning taste I crave. Meanwhile, the salad and blue cheese helps cool down the fire in your mouth.

Hot sauce and blue cheese poses a difficult wine pairing. Spicy foods pair well with a glass of semi-sweet Riesling. For a bottle of red, opt for Zinfandel. Otherwise, reach for a bottle of hoppy IPA (India Pale Ale) - if that's your thing, I'm not a fan - or a "sweeter" beer such as Blue Moon or a variety of Belgian Wheat.

What you need:
Chopped Salad:
1 cup broccoli chopped into bite-size florets
3/4 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
3 hearts of romaine lettuce, chopped
1/4 cup crumbled bacon, optional
Ranch or blue cheese dressing.

Buffalo Chicken
4 thin-sliced boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp black pepper
1 egg
2 tbsp water
Vegetable oil
~1 cup your favorite hot sauce or wing sauce

What you do:
1. Pour panko and flour (seasoned with pepper) into separate shallow dishes. Beat egg with 2 tbsp water in a shallow bowl.
2. Dredge cutlets in flour, then dip in egg allowing excess to drip off, then dredge in panko.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to hot oil and allow to cook on each side for about 5 minutes, or until dark golden brown.
4. Place chicken in a shallow baking dish or baking sheet with a lip. Pour your favorite hot sauce or wing sauce onto chicken, just enough to coat boat sides.
5. Bake chicken in oven for 8 minutes, turning over halfway through cooking time.
6. Meanwhile, combine all chopped salad ingredients in a large bowl.
7. Slice chicken cutlet into thin strips and serve over ~1-1/2 to 2 cups salad. Top with your favorite light ranch or blue cheese dressing.

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