Baked Summer Ratatouille
One of the first local recipes we made for the Oregon Food Bank's Eat Local Challenge!
Yeah, that’s a long name. But there are so many tasty things in this salad. I couldn’t leave any of them out. Kudos to Dave for a great impromptu dinner idea. One moment, we were bemoaning the hot weather at home, the next we were walking down the street to New Seasons, and the wheels were turning in his head to create an amazing recipe.
This salad was simply amazing. The chicken was perfectly cooked and was of great quality, and I could taste it. It was cooked simply, with just some flour, salt and pepper. The pear was perfectly sweet and a great contrast to the salty, intense blue cheese. The walnuts gave it the perfect crunch, and we added arugula to the greens to pull it back down to Earth a little bit.
I ate two forkfuls of this salad and pushed it away from me in a futile attempt to not inhale the whole thing at once. That lasted about five seconds.
Here’s what you need for two servings:
Start by making the candied walnuts. Preheat the oven to 350 or use a toaster oven. Toss the walnuts in a few tablespoons of sugar and melt on a foil-lined pan. Remove when the sugar has melted and allow to cool. Break apart when finished.
While they are in the oven, begin making the chicken. Coat the chicken in flour, salt and pepper. I believe we added a few shakes of lemon pepper – you can mix in your favorite seasonings and play with it. Heat oil a skillet on medium-high heat, and add the chicken. What you’re going for is to have a nice crust on the outside, but making sure that the inside gets totally cooked, too. We started by doing 6-8 minutes on each side, but every piece of chicken will be different. When the chicken looks done, take it out of the pan and cut it open at its thickest point. If it is not done yet, slice the chicken into medallions/slices and return to the pan to finish cooking.
Wash your salad greens, dry using a clean towel and move to a good-sized bowl. Add the blue cheese, and dress lightly with about a tablespoon of each olive oil and red wine vinegar. Season heavily with freshly-grated black pepper. Toss to coat and move to your plates. Add the candied walnuts, sliced chicken and lastly, the sliced pear on top.
We ate this salad for dinner – between the chicken, pear, and cheese, it was rich and filling. I can’t wait to make this again!