We're currently going through something of a heatwave here in the U.K. - June 2017 - and salads are definitely in. However, because I wanted to try and make salad eating something good as opposed to something yawn-inducing (oh come on, you know it can be!), I've been experimenting with some rather out of the box kinds of salads and this one is by far the best we've tried (so far!).
The original inspiration came from the good old BBC Good Food website, as very often happens. Their version of the salad can be found here and from that you'll be able to see that I've added a little and taken away a little from the original, but it is still very close.
Yes, it requires a little bit of work before time with marinating the chicken but I also recommend that you wash your lettuce and put it in an inflated freezer bag in the fridge to crisp up. Doing this makes all the difference to a crisp, crunchy salad.
When you get down to preparing dinner, it really is just a matter of chopping and building the salad, then spending a moment or two grilling the chicken, slicing, garnishing and hey presto - dinner is on the plate. It really is as easy as that.
I've divided the recipe up into three sections, to make it easier to see what should be used for what. I hope that proves helpful.
As for Cook's Tips, the only recommendation I have for you is that you chop up the salad before cooking the chicken. You can always put the salad back into the fridge while the chicken is cooking, so as to keep everything fresh and crunchy. Then, once the chicken is done it can rest and cool a little while you quickly plate up the salad items.
I can see that this is going to be a regular fall-back salad for blisteringly hot days. My menfolk thought it was delicious and professed themselves keen to see it again very soon!
CHICKEN SATAY SALAD (serves 3)
For the chicken
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp curry powder of your choice (I used a medium)
half a tsp of ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
2 tsp runny honey.
For the sauce
1.5 tbsp peanut butter (crunchy or smooth, it's up to you, but a sugar free version is good)
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
juice of 1 lime
cold water, as required.
For the salad
a selection of salad leaves (I used Romaine and Iceberg lettuces)
a large vine tomato, halved and sliced
cucumber, sliced thickly and halved (two slices/four halves per person)
small seedless green grapes (5-6 per person)
half a red onion, sliced finely
cooked beetroot wedges (four per person)
mustard & cress
fresh parsley, chopped
3 tbsp dry roasted peanuts.
At least one hour before you are due to begin cooking, marinate the chicken.
Place the soy sauce, curry powder, cumin, garlic and honey into a large bowl and mix well.
Taking each chicken breast, run your knife horizontally through from the thickest end to the thinnest, creating two thin fillets. Plate the fillets into the marinade and stir well, to ensure every little bit is coated. Cover with cling film and refrigerate until required.
When it is time to cook, begin by mixing up the satay sauce. In a medium sized bowl, add the peanut butter, sweet chilli sauce and lime juice and stir together. Continue to stir, adding small amounts of cold water, until you have a dropping consistency. Set aside.
Next, build each salad onto the plate starting with the salad leaves. Create a small mound of these in the centre of the plate.
Divide the slices of tomato between the three plates, placing the tomato around the outside of the leaves.
Dot the salad leaves with cucumber half slices, then the grapes, then sprinkle the red onion over.
Add the beetroot wedges to the side of the plate.
Sprinkle everything with the mustard & cress.
Next, lay each fillet of chicken onto a foil lined baking sheet and cook under a hot grill (or broiler, if you're in the USA) until just cooked. Turn the chicken over and cook the other side the same way. This should only take 6-7 minutes each side. Check the chicken is cooked through, by cutting into the thickest part and if you can see any sign of pinkness in the juices, put it back under the grill until the pinkness is gone.
Slice the chicken and lay it on top of the salad, while the chicken is still warm.
Drizzle spoonfuls of the satay sauce over the chicken and into the salad - be generous, as the sauce is divine.
Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and the dry roasted peanuts.
Settle down somewhere cool - and tuck in!