Let's just start this post by admitting that I've been keeping this recipe from you for some time now. I've been making it over and over, perfecting it each time. It's really quite simple, but questions like "red onion or scallions?" "add bell pepper or no?" "what kind of acid to brighten it?" needed to be answered.
You'll be happy to hear that we have finally arrived at what I believe to be one of the yummiest chicken salads out there. Outside of outrageously good bacon and a little bit of mayo, it's a super healthy salad!
I call it the...
"BLT Plus Some" Salad
Makes 2 large dinner salads and some leftovers for lunch
5-6 cups garden greens (I have a variety of arugula, green leaf, red leaf and romaine)
1/2 pound of thick cut bacon (I have fallen in love with Costco's Sunny Valley brand... it's my weakness)
3 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs (or whatever cut you like) (use EVOO, salt and pepper for roasting)
2-3 medium tomatoes, with tomato water and seeds removed, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
1/3 cup real mayo
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
generous salt and pepper
8 dashes of your favorite hot sauce
Here's that bacon I talked about in the ingredient list. Whoa. We are bacon people, and this is GOOD BACON: Costco "Sunny Valley." You're not still cooking your bacon on the stove top are you? SHAME!! 400 degrees, 15-16 min. Perfect every time.
So, cook bacon, blot and set aside to cool. Then chop up into 1/2 inch pieces.
After bacon comes out, turn oven down to 375. Chicken should be pat dried, salt and peppered liberally and then sprinkled with olive oil. Throw your chicken in for 35-40 min. I will admit I have not bought boneless chicken in maybe over a year. Roasting, grilling, cooking "on the bone" just keeps so much juiciness in chicken. If you are sick of dry chicken, this will change your tune. Plus, after roasting and pulling the meat off I toss the bones in a bag and stick them in the freezer. When the bag fills up, I can make stock. We are resourceful around here. But seriously it's about the flavor.
You might be tempted to nibble at the skin. Which is okay, it's not going in the salad anyway. It's crispy though- so have at it, I won't tell anyone.
Wash your greens. I have to say I never thought I would get into gardening, but it brings me just as much pleasure as cooking. Well, the harvesting does anyway. The weeding and turkey chasing is another story.
Chop your veg. Look how gorgeous that looks! Those colors! And I have to insist on the scallions here. They really add the perfect bite in this salad.
When your chicken meat has cooled (about 30 min), chop up and toss with veg. Then add mayo, vinegar, salt and pepper and hot sauce. This hot sauce is from Oregon. We LOVE it. Plus it has a quirky little mascot. You could leave the hot sauce out if you would like. I think it's the secret weapon though.
Give it a taste, make any last minute changes. For best results, let it sit in the fridge for 30-60 min. The flavors really get a chance to relax into one another.
Then don't forget the bacon! I mean, who in the world would do that?!
Assemble your salad and prepare to want seconds. It's incredible. Also, we will sometimes put the mixture in lettuce cups: a fun idea with company or kids, or for a football play off game perhaps? :)