home cooked dinners by the season

Mexican Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Mexican Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

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Anyone that likes Mexican food will love this salad of grilled kernels of corn, crunchy tortilla strips, marinated cooked chicken and crisp romaine lettuce all lightly bathed in a cilantro flecked and lime zest vinaigrette.

There are a few extra steps to this salad that are worth doing. The first is to whisk together the dressing and toss part of it with the cooked chicken. Whether it is for an hour or overnight this will impart good flavor on the chicken. Next, take the time to fry thinly sliced store-bought corn tortillas to make crispy strips. High quality corn tortilla chip can be used as a replacement, but I assure you that frying them yourself is worth the effort. Then take the time to grill the corn on the barbecue. This gives a grilled, caramelized flavor to the kernels adding a subtle but important flavor. And of course I always recommend taking the time to make your own vinaigrette. The fresh flavors of the ingredients make a tremendous difference.

Mexican Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette:
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons cider or white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup vegetable or olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

  • Homemade fried tortilla strips:
  • Vegetable oil
  • 4 corn tortillas, halved and thinly sliced

  • Salad:
  • 2 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded or sliced into bite size pieces
  • 6 cups thinly sliced Romaine lettuce
  • 3 ears fresh corn (about 2 cups kernels)
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can black or kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup grated Monterey jack or cheddar cheese
  • 1 medium size tomato, diced
  • 1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
Instructions
  1. For the cilantro lime vinaigrette, put cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, cider vinegar, honey, mustard, garlic and oil in a jar and cover with a lid; shake until evenly mixed, or put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Pour half of the dressing over the shredded cooked chicken; toss to coat evenly; refrigerate one hour or overnight, turning a few times.
  3. For the tortilla strips, heat about 1-inch depth of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, fry sliced corn tortillas, until lightly brown and crisp, about 3 minutes; remove from oil and transfer to paper towels and sprinkle with salt.
  4. For the corn, preheat a grill to medium heat. Remove outer husk from corn. Grill corn, turning several times during cooking, until kernels are lightly charred and softened, about 10 minutes. Remove from grill and allow cooling. Cut kernels off cob.
  5. To serve the salad toss lettuce, chicken, beans, corn, cheese, tomato, avocado and marinated chicken with remaining dressing. Divide onto four plates and top with crisp tortilla strips.

 


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