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updated: 8/7/2013 12:54 PM

Greek chicken salad, your way

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  • In this image taken on May 20, 2013, grilled Greek chicken salad is shown on a serving platter in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

      In this image taken on May 20, 2013, grilled Greek chicken salad is shown on a serving platter in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

 
By J.M. Hirsch
Associated Press

Salad recipes that have fussy lists of ingredients generally irritate me.

I don't doubt that they are delicious, nor that assembling them just so with just the right blend of flavors and textures makes for a transformative salad experience. It's simply that my life doesn't allow for such fuss.

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To me, the very nature of a salad should be that it brings together whatever is fresh and delicious and marries it all with some oil and acid. Particulars beyond that don't much matter.

So I give you my recipe for grilled Greek salad. I use the term "recipe" loosely, for you should use this merely as inspiration, a guide for making good salad choices. Substitute, modify, amplify.

The chicken, for example, is easily replaced with thinly sliced steak. Or turkey tenderloin. Or small cubes of lamb. Or salmon. Don't have Boston lettuce? Use anything frilly and green. Or even something not so frilly. Heck, use a bed of finely chopped steamed and cooled broccoli if that's what you have. And substitute at will for the veggies I call for. I like them grilled, but don't feel compelled. Want something bready? Grill some and add as croutons.

My only request? Don't use bottled dressing. Make it. Homemade vinaigrette tastes better, is better for you, and makes you a better person. And use your hands when dressing the greens with it. You'll get much better coverage, making for a much better salad.

• J.M. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs at LunchBoxBlues.com and tweets @JM--Hirsch.

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