Sweet Summer Salad (With a Kick!)

I will readily admit that I’m not the cook in my relationship. I can cook and do on occasion, but by and large my boyfriend handles that part. When I do cook, maybe because of the fact that it’s not an everyday occurrence, I like to get as creative as possible. Last night, I made a salad (that I personally think is a keeper). It has some fantastic flavours within it – sweet, caramelized pears juxtaposed with blue cheese, and Dijon chicken breast. It’s the perfect meal for a warm summer night, best enjoyed on a balcony or in a backyard.

sweet summer salad

What You’ll Need (Ingredients):

Serves 2

2 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)

2 large, ripe Bartlett pears (halved, cored and thinly sliced)

Blue cheese (crumbled)

3 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 medium shallot, minced

1 cup olive oil

Honey (to taste)

Baby arugula (or mixed greens or lettuce)

Walnuts, roasted (optional)

What to Do:

For Chicken Breast

1. In a bowl, mix together 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil and half the minced shallot.

minced shallots

2. In a Ziploc bag, place your chicken breasts and the mixture above, close, and shake well to coat.

3. Leave overnight in your fridge, or at least for a few hours to allow for the chicken to marinade.

4. Set oven temperature to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. While oven heats up, pan sear the chicken breast for about a minute on each side, in an oven-friendly pan. Place the pan with the chicken into the oven and allow to cook for 20 minutes (or until juices run clear).

5. Remove from oven, slice, and allow to cool.

For the Salad:

1. In a bowl, mix together 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil and half the minced shallot. Set aside.

2. Heat a tsp of olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat. While pan heats, carefully coat each pear slice with enough honey to thinly cover both sides.

4. Place the coated pear slices into the heated pan and allow to fry until they are slightly caramelized on both sides.

pears

5. Coat arugula in the olive oil/Dijon/shallot mixture until it is well covered.

6. Plate a handful of arugula with the chicken overtop and the pears on the side. Sprinkle with blue cheese and walnuts to taste.

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Loving…

Listening:

I stumbled on this song through the amazing We Are Hunted app in Spotify (the app was recently bought by Twitter and was launched yesterday as “Twitter #Music“, which is so far a super cool offering). The track reminds me a lot of Vampire Weekend and the almost island feel of the chorus makes me smile every morning on my way to work.

Reading:

Behind the Ktchen Door

I saw Saru Jayaraman on an episode of Bill Maher about a week ago and loved how passionate and knowledgeable she came off. Behind the Kitchen Door is a look at what goes on in the restaurant industry (focused on the US, naturally) behind what we all normally see – the powerful lobby groups, the “sustainability” trend that isn’t very sustainable, and the difficulties restaurant workers have living within the economic system. Really interesting read, especially for someone who frequents restaurants quite a bit.

Cooking:

Dinner tonight or lunch tomorrow will be one of my favourite salads: pear + arugula + blue cheese (with mustard-vinegar dressing). It’s such a refreshing salad with so many different flavours (I like to also add candied pecans for a bit of sugary sweetness to further cut the blue cheese). I’ve been craving it all week, ever since I had a meh salad at work on Monday, and I can’t wait to have it again. Bonus: it’s quick and easy to make and requires very few ingredients. Every time I have a salad, I can’t help but think of this.

My fave! via the Food Network.

My fave! via the Food Network.

Anticipating:

We recently purchased tickets to see The Lumineers on May 2nd, and I seriously can’t wait. Their album is pure perfection for me right now!

Lumineers

Happy Friday and have a lovely weekend!