Macho salad

I love this hefty-not-heavy salad, featured in a number of Hillstone restaurants, in spite of its goofball name. I’m not sure what makes it macho – lots of dates; very corny? And shouldn’t a macho salad be beefy, not chicken? But name aside, it’s the mix of flavors and textures – greens, chicken, chopped dates, corn, avocado, toasted almonds, goat cheese – that makes this salad meal memorably satisfying.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups mixed greens, washed and dried
  • 1 cup corn kernels (frozen if fresh not available)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved (or diced larger tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup medjool dates (3/4 cup if fresh instead of dried), pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 cup rotisserie chicken, roughly shredded
  • 1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese (or feta)
  • Cornbread croutons (optional)

Vinaigrette ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon dijon or spicy brown mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon table salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine or champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Mix the dressing: in a bowl or jar, add mustard, salt, pepper, basil, garlic and vinegar. Mix well with a fork/whisk (or, if using a jar, cover and shake). Add oil in batches, mixing well each time to emulsify.
  2. Toast almonds (optional): heat almonds in a pan on medium heat (or on a baking sheet in 350 degree F oven) and warm a few minutes until almonds are lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large salad bowl, combine greens, tomatoes, corn and dates. If you are using frozen corn, you can add it straight to the salad (frozen corn is briefly cooked before freezing, and the small kernels thaw quickly). Add half the vinaigrette and mix well. Add additional vinaigrette to taste, as well as additional salt and pepper if you like.
  4. Add avocado, chicken, almonds and cheese. Mix gently to incorporate.

Serves two as a substantial meal or 4-6 as a side salad.

Notes

  • Medjool dates – chewy sweet and almost caramel in flavor – are a real star in this salad, but you could substitute other dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, figs, prunes) if you had to.
  • Soft, tart goat cheese is perfect in this salad, but you can sub in another cheese if you don’t have any goat cheese on hand.

Here’s a link back to the post and pictures.

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