One of my favorite things that happens when I’m cooking is I tend to get inspired to create entirely different recipes using the ingredients or concepts that I am using at that given moment. Am I making sense? Let me explain a little further.
A couple of weeks ago, I was making tomato bruschetta for a dinner party we were having. (Side note: one of the best party foods ever, just FYI. ) I started daydreaming about how I could translate the exact same flavor experience into a salad with some tender protein on top. Hence, this Bruschetta Chicken Salad was born!
This recipe uses all of the key ingredients that you need to make a kick ass bruschetta – tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, fresh basil and garlic. By making homemade bite-sized croutons, you maintain the crispy component that is usually some sort of toasted bread. Adding some balsamic-blackened chicken breast and serving over crisp lettuce allows you to enjoy all of these fresh ingredients in a totally different way. Same amazing flavor, different texture. Perfectly portable.
What will you need? (makes 2 salads)
For the blackened-balsamic chicken:
1 large chicken breast
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
A sprinkle of dried herbs/spices – dried basil, oregano, rosemary, salt, pepper
For the salad + bruschetta mix:
4 cups cold romaine leaves, torn
2 medium tomatoes, diced and seeded
6 leaves fresh basil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
For the croutons:
2 slices of wheat bread, cut into small squares
1 tbsp butter, melted
How do you make it?
In a small pan, heat some olive oil, salt, pepper and a mixture of dried herbs. Cook your chicken breast until it is about 90% done. Remove the chicken from the heat and cut into 1-inch thick strips. See how it is still a little pink in the picture below? This is so you don’t overcook it when you blacken the outside!
In the same pan, bring 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar to a simmer. Add the chicken back at high heat and blacken the outside with the simmering balsamic. YESSSS.
In a separate bowl, combine the diced tomato, sliced basil leaves, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh garlic, salt and pepper. I swear, it is going to take every last ounce of restraint to not eat all of this with a spoon.
To make the croutons, melt a little bit of butter in a small skillet and bring to light simmer. Add the bread cubes in and toss until the outsides are brown and crispy! Toss with a little bit of salt and pepper for some additional seasoning.
Ok. All three components of your salad are ready. Let’s make it look sexy now.
Start with a bed of freshly torn romaine leaves.
Add a spoonful of the tomato mixture on top.
Followed by your blackened balsamic chicken, croutons and more tomatoes on top.
Holy CRAP. Behold.