Blackened Chicken Salad
Mess Level: Low
Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 7 min
For the Salad:
- 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
- ¼ Cup Blackened Redfish Magic Spice Blend by Paul Prudhomme
- 1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes
- ½ Ripe Avocado
- ½ Small Red Onion
- 4 Cups Mixed Spring Greens
For the Dressing:
- 1 Tablespoon Orange Juice
- 1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Honey
- ½ teaspoon Cumin
- ½ Cup Grapeseed Oil Plus More for Searing
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
- If your chicken breasts are large, slice them lengthwise down the middle like you are going to butterfly and stuff them, but instead cut all the way through. So you have essentially, four, thin chicken breasts, not chicken strips. You may also pound them to achieve the thinness but your cook time may vary from this recipe.
- Lay them on a plate and liberally coat them with the blackening seasoning, you don’t want to see any chicken peeking through its coating.
- Heat a cast iron skillet to medium heat. Add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom and heat until it shimmers, about 30 seconds. Shake any excess spice off the chicken and place it in the hot pan and sear it, undisturbed, for 1-2 minutes or until you have a nice, dark brown color. Flip and sear for an additional 30 seconds. Transfer the chicken to the oven and allow it to finish cooking until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 Fahrenheit, about 7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the salad. Thinly slice the red onion and halve the tomatoes. Wait to cube the avocado until right before serving.
- Add all the dressing ingredients to a mason jar and shake vigorously until combined.
- When the chicken is done allow it to rest for five minutes before thinly slicing against the grain.
- Toss the greens and onions with the dressing until the leaves are lightly coated. Transfer to serving plates and top with the tomatoes and avocado. Shingle the sliced chicken across the salad and serve immediately. Enjoy!
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Ramblings of a Line Cook
One of the restaurants I worked at as a line cook in Colorado offered a blackened chicken salad as a lunch option. Everyone went nuts over it, something about blackened poultry or fish is an uncommon technique and people don’t really understand what it is, but they know it’s delicious!
Let me just set the matter straight here and then you too can have a blackened chicken salad in less than 30 minutes time. Basically, you are taking a spice blend and drowning the meat in it. You shake off the excess and throw the coated meat on a hot pan or grill. The hot metal caramelizes the sugars in the spice blend and melds with the fat that drips out of the meat. This creates a dark, char on the outside which is full of flavor from those almost burnt sugars.
My favorite blackening blend is from Paul Prudhomme. His spice blends are amazing and he’s originally from Louisiana which is where he invented the blackened redfish with his now renowned seasoning blend. He also created some spice blends for the New Orleans School of Cooking (where I had the pleasure of working when I lived in New Orleans).
People often think of Mexican food in relation to blackened fish or chicken but really it’s more of a deep, southern flavor influenced by creole cuisine. Similar to the dark roux in a gumbo, cooking food until it’s dark and gives up everything it has to offer is an amazing experience on your tongue.
This blackened chicken was my go to as a quick lunch on the line. I would throw a piece of blackened chicken on a sandwich, salad, in a soup, eat it on its own with some vinegar or honey mustard, it is just an amazing and crazy simple way to enhance an ordinary chicken breast.
At home, I love cooking off several pieces and having them for lunch options all week. Make this blackened chicken salad and then use leftovers for a rice bowl or soup the next day. The possibilities are endless!