Thursday, August 18, 2011

California Chicken Salad with Avocado & Grapefruit

Had a great night last night with girlfriends eating salad and other yummies on the deck and chatting each other's ears off.  I love Summer.

This salad has everything that is good and right... great flavors together.  I actually was inspired by a trip to Trader Joe's...

So, the story goes like this, I was standing in line with about 6 packages of dried Seaweed "Chips" when the ladies in front of me wanted to know "what is THAT???".  I buy dried Seaweed for my hubby, who inexplicably loves the stuff (can I say ICK here?) so after assuring them that some people loved it, they told me about their get-together and making their favorite Chicken Salad. People chat with me a lot, must be something about me that says "hey, talk to me"...

Chicken, Grapefruit and Avocado.... okay, you had me at all THREE ingredients! 
I decided I would recreate this dish at home. I am sure that you have heard that every great salad has three great components 1) salty 2) sweet 3) crunchy to make a good combo.  Not sure if that method is entirely fool proof, but I thought about my options with the 3 ingredients I knew from my 'buddies" at the grocery store and what else could be added to make a salad I would like.  I think we needed more 'crunchy' like Jicama, more salty like "almonds" and "gorganzola" and every salad needs TANGY like my Honey Mustard Poppyseed Dressing.

It was a great evening with friends, my buddy Kelly always does so many wonderful things when you go there.  I just had to take a picture of our appetizers... next time, I won't make a salad, but will make a meal of her fabulous appetizer spread. Just in case you are wondering, YES... that is cambozola cheese sitting alone on my plate (which tastes like blue cheese butter) and I will admit to ice cubes in my white wine.  Yes, I am one of those....

(Isn't the smallest roast chicken you ever saw??? 
 I bought it at the grocery store, but I am in love with the Costco roast chickens best!)

Serves 4-6 people
1-2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or chopped
1-2 grapefruits, cut into segments (or canned segments, drained)
1/2 red onion, diced
3-4 green onions, chopped
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup jicama, chopped
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/3 cup sliced, toasted almonds
1/2 cup gorgonzola, blue cheese or feta, crumbled
6-8 cups of washed lettuce greens, or spinach

1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 cup lime juice
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
Salt & Pepper

Wisk the mustard and the honey together, add the lime juice and slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking to incorporate.  Add poppy seeds and add salt and pepper to taste. Keeps for a couple weeks in the fridge.  Would also make a good marinade for chicken, pork or shrimp for a future dinner!

Chop all your ingredients as noted above.  Probably the only thing that needs an explanation is how to make citrus segments.  It's not hard, but a bit messy.  First, cut the rind off the grapefruit (or orange) until you can see the segments as noted below in my pictures. 

- - -P.S. it's not the best example picture, but I just need you to know you need to cut off quite a bit of the rind in order to expose the segments.

Using a paring knife, carefully cut as close as you can to the dividing segments of each each.  Be careful, I need to point out that you are cutting into your hand here!  Each segment falls out of the grapefruit or orange, as you loosen it from the segment membrane on each side.  There is a bit of waste here, but the perfect segments of citrus on your salad are so good! This is a great technique for many other desserts and fruit salads too!

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