Ah, summer. It’s the time of year when I want to eat salad for every meal. I hate being stuck in the kitchen over a hot stove, so this chicken-topped salad is a great solution. It’s filling, flavorful and incredibly delicious. Tender lettuce is topped with sliced chicken, mangos, avocado and almonds then drizzled with the simplest of vinaigrettes. It’s perfectly paired with a dry, crisp white wine, like one Cambria’s unique wines.
The chicken is brined before cooking. Brining is a form of marinating. The meat or poultry is submerged in a concentrated salt/sugar/water solution with aromatics. For this recipe, I wanted to infuse the chicken with the flavor of jalapeno without it being too spicy. It’s more kid-friendly that way. Add lime for a little acidity and fresh orange juice for a little more sweetness and bright flavor.
The chicken can be grilled, baked or pan-fried. I prefer to grill it, but this time I cooked it in my heavy-duty cast iron skillet for a nicely browned exterior. The mangos add sweetness which balances out the savory chicken and buttery avocados, and tart lime vinaigrette.
Basically, this is a perfect summer salad and you’ll be making it once a week for the next three months. And don’t forget the wine! This Viognier, one of Cambria’s hand-crafted wines, has the intense aromas and flavors of tropical fruits and spices, making it a perfect companion to this salad.
Jalapeno Lime Chicken Salad with Avocado and Mangoes
- 1 quart water
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- juice of 1 orange
- 1 large jalapeno sliced
- juice of 2 limes
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 garlic clove thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
- 6 cups torn lettuce
- 1 avocado diced
- 1/2 cup diced mango
- 1 shallot thinly sliced
- Sliced almonds optional
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- honey to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine brine ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to dissolve salt and sugar. Add chicken to brine. Let soak for 15-30 minutes, but not any longer. If you need to brine for longer, add another quart of water so the chicken doesn't get too salty. Lightly rinse the chicken and pat dry before cooking.
- Heat a large cast iron or grill pan over medium-high heat. Add a little olive oil to coat. Place the chicken in the pan and let it cook for 7 minutes then turn and cook the other side for an additional 7-10 minutes. (Cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the chicken.) Let cool completely. Thinly slice.
- Arrange lettuce on serving plates and top each with one sliced chicken breast. Divide the avocado, mango, and shallot over the plates.
- Whisk together lime juice, olive oil, and honey. Season well with salt and pepper. Drizzle the salads with a little vinaigrette and serve immediately. Pass remaining vinaigrette alongside.
Remember that the legal drinking age is 21 years old, as always please drink responsibly.
This post brought to you by Cambria Estate Winery. All opinions are 100% mine.