Food

Warm salad win: A balanced and beautiful combo of crispy chicken, creamy goat cheese and crunchy vegetables

This delicious salad is a meal to feel good about eating anytime and special enough for serving to guests too.

This delicious salad is a meal to feel good about eating anytime and special enough for serving to guests too

(Image: Dennis The Prescott)

Warm salads are a magical thing. They’re a beautiful balance of flavour, texture and temperature, and most importantly, they taste delicious! This salad is a seasonal favourite in our home; it’s a crispy meal sure to be a hit with your family, beautiful enough to serve to friends, and a great way to enjoy vegetables during cooler months.

(Image: Dennis The Prescott)

The vinaigrette recipe makes extra dressing, and will store well in an airtight container in the fridge for several days. Use extras on another salad, a sandwich, or as a beautiful marinade.

Crispy Chicken, Pear, and Goat Cheese Salad with Shaved Root Vegetables

By Dennis The Prescott

Ingredients

Salad:

  • 1 cup (about 100 grams) hazelnuts
  • 4 large chicken thighs, skin on
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups peeled and shaved beets
  • 1 cup finely shaved radishes
  • 1 fennel bulb, shaved and fronds reserved
  • 1 Bartlett pear, sliced
  • 1 ripe but firm avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 4 oz crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 cups spicy greens (like mizuna or arugula)

Maple Dijon Vinaigrette:

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • ½ shallot, finely diced
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 425F degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pour the hazelnuts onto the prepared baking sheet, then roast for about 10 minutes, until golden and fragrant. Remove from the oven and wrap the hazelnuts in a kitchen towel to steam and to help the skins loosen. After a few minutes roll the towel back and forth, working the hazelnuts around to remove the skins. Set aside.

Meanwhile, massage the chicken with 1 tablespoon olive oil, thyme, sea salt, and pepper, making sure to coat all sides completely. Heat a non-stick, oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. When smoking hot, add the the chicken, skin side down, and cook until browned (3 to 4 minutes). Flip the chicken, then transfer to the preheated oven and roast for 35 to 40 minutes until cooked through, golden brown, and perfectly crispy (chicken should read 165F degrees using a meat thermometer).

While the chicken is cooking, get on with the salad. First, prepare the dressing. Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar, cover, and shake vigorously until thick and creamy. Set aside.

Shave the root vegetables with a mandolin (or very carefully slice with a sharp knife). Combine the vegetables and pear in a large bowl, then toss with ½ cup of the vinaigrette. Transfer to a platter, then top with sliced avocado, crumbled goat cheese, greens and roasted hazelnuts.

Carve the chicken thighs into thin strips, then scatter over the salad. Top with fennel fronds and serve with extra vinaigrette.


Dennis The Prescott is a chef, cookbook author, and food photographer based in Moncton, New Brunswick. Prescott has amassed a devoted following of almost 500K social media followers, cooks regularly on National television in the US and Canada, and has traveled the globe with World Vision Canada and WFP, cooking from New York to Nairobi. His National bestselling cookbook, Eat Delicious (William Morrow/HarperCollins) was named one of the Globe & Mail’s best cookbooks of 2017. Find more of Dennis’ recipes at dennistheprescott.com, or on social media at @dennistheprescott.

Servings: Makes 6 servings

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