Nourish: Coming to the rescue of boring 'salad with chicken'

 
By Ellie Krieger
The Washington Post
Posted4/25/2017 6:00 AM
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  • Green Salad With Chicken, Apple and Maple Walnuts in Buttermilk Dressing.

    Green Salad With Chicken, Apple and Maple Walnuts in Buttermilk Dressing. Goran Kosanovic/The Washington Post

I typically think of salad with chicken as a workhorse of the healthful culinary world. It reliably gets the job done and can be good, but it is rarely memorable or inspiring. Truthfully, it can be a boring fallback. I suppose I should have had higher expectations when I ordered one at Fume in Napa Valley several months ago. The place was recommended by a culinary-pro local friend, and I was in a mecca of good food and wine. Still, I was taken aback by just how compelling that salad was and how much it stood out from the same-old, same-old. The thought of it stuck in my mind so long I just had to come up with my own version to share with you.

What makes this salad so special is its variety of tastes, colors and textures which makes each forkful a bit different, so eating it feels like a constant discovery. There are two kinds of lettuce -- tender Bibb and crisp romaine -- crunchy nuts coated in a maple glaze, sweet chunks of red apple, cool bites of celery, the snap of blanched green beans and chewy dried cherries. Rather than the usual cubes of grilled breast, there are tender pieces of chicken torn from half a roasted bird. All the ingredients are coated in a lightly creamy, tangy buttermilk dressing seasoned with fresh dill and scallion.

This salad might take a bit more effort than adding cooked poultry to pre-washed greens and calling it a day. But most of the elements can be made ahead and you can use a store-bought rotisserie chicken, so the salad still comes together fairly easy, and you will be rewarded in pure delight.

• Ellie Krieger is a registered dietitian, nutritionist and author who hosts public television's "Ellie's Real Good Food." She blogs and offers a weekly newsletter at www.elliekrieger.com.

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