Loaded Butter Lettuce And Chicken Salad


The more and more time I spend around food, the more I get to learn about it. Duh, I know. But learning about what makes amazing dishes, and even more finitely, ingredients is one of the most exciting parts for me. One of the simplest facts I've been lucky enough to experience first hand is the difference between produce from a grocery store and produce straight off of a farm. In the time I've been writing Coffee And Champagne, I've visited a few farms (check them out here) and whether it's eating oysters straight out of the water or lettuce out of the dirt, food has never tasted so good! If you've ever been apple picking and noticed how amazing the apples were, went home to your favorite grocery store to grab more and they just didn't taste the same, it's because ingredients off of the farm are better! They don't sit out as long before you get your hands on them. Fresher food equals better food. It makes sense, no?

Well, I just learned of Bowery Farming. It's an indoor farm, how cool is that? It's new to me, so I'm nerding out on it. It's a modern take on farming where the farmers create the climate and overall ideal conditions for growing super pure produce. The produce is easily traceable and cared for with precision.

You see, as I'm writing this, I'm eating the salad you are seeing in the photos above (I call it method writing) and I caught myself, albeit in my home alone with my pup, saying "holy, [bleep]"—you get it. Yes, my recipe is awesome but it's the quality of the leafy greens that got me. Try them, you'll absolutely see the difference (find out how to get them here)!


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1. TO PREP YOUR VEGGIES. preheat your oven to 350°.

Fill your saucepan with water just high enough to cover your sweet potato. Bring to a boil.

Peel your your sweet potato.

Add to boiling water and cover with lid. Let boil for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, cut your grape tomatoes in half.

Put your tomato halves in your small mixing bowl. 

Add in salt, pepper and a touch of your extra virgin olive oil. 

Mix.

Pour your seasoned tomato halves onto half of your baking sheet.

Set aside.

Once your sweet potato has finished boiling, carefully transfer it to your cutting board. Using a clean dish towel, hold it with one hand and use your chefs knife to cut thin round slices.

Put the slices in your small mixing bowl.

Add in salt, pepper, and a little bit of your extra virgin olive oil. 

Mix.

Lay your slices flat across the other half of your baking sheet.

Bake till blackening begins to appear on edges—about 20 minutes.

Continue on to the next step while your sweet potatoes and tomatoes are baking. These can be done in tandem.

Put your roasted tomatoes in your mixing bowl. Add in 1 tbsp of your gorgonzola and mix together.

Set aside.

Slice your chives. 

Set aside

2. TO PREP YOUR CHICKEN. brush with a little bit of your extra virgin olive oil.

Season with salt and pepper.

Finely chop 2 tbsp worth of your basil and sprinkle it over your chicken.

Use your hands to rub all of your seasonings into your chicken.

Line your baking sheet with your silpat and place your chicken on top of it.

Bake till 165°—about 15 minutes.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Slice width-wise on an angle.

Set aside.

3. TO PREP YOUR FRUIT. on your cutting board, using your chefs knife, slice 1/4 of your apple into match sticks. 

To cut this way, start with your full apple. Slice off 1/4 of it in one chunk. Slice it in 1/8 inch slices lengthwise and then turn it and cut it in 1/8 inch widthwise.

Cut 3/4 of your plum in 1/4 inch rounds.

Halve your avocado and then slice each of halves lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices while making sure to keep all of the slices together so you maintain the avocado's shape.

4. TO PUT IT ALL TOGETHER. take half of your remaining basil and chiffonade it.

To chiffonade, layer your basil leaves directly on top of one another. Widthwise, roll them together. Use your knife to slice widthwise (like you would a celery stalk). You will end up with basil ribbons

Either in individual bowls (like I did) or one large salad bowl, mix together your bib lettuce, basil ribbons and arugula.

Maintaining the shapes you cut in, transfer your chicken and avocado slices onto your mixed lettuce.

Add on your apple matchsticks, then plum, then sweet potato, then tomato gorgonzola mixture.

Sprinkle salt and pepper onto your avocado.

Sprinkle your thyme leaves and sliced chives over your salad.