BBQ chicken chopped salad

This salad rated overwhelmingly No. 1 among our employees. We love it, too, for so many reasons: the crunch of the jicama, corn chips, and lettuces; the explosions of flavors ... and the sweet-and-spicy barbecue sauce with the cool ranch dressing. You can find jicama, a knobby Mexican tuber with crisp, sweet flesh, in well-stocked markets. (Editor's. note: You won't get quite the flavor, but you can substitue a quality bottled ranch dressing in a pinch.)


Vegetable oil for deep-frying

12 corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips

(about 6 cups).


1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon cold water

2-3/4 cups mayonnaise

1 cup buttermilk

7 tablespoons sour cream

2-1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1-1/2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions

(greens and whites)

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons minced fresh Italian parsley

1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon minced fresh dill

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh oregano

(or 1/4 teaspoon dried)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon minced fresh basil


1-1/3 tablespoons olive oil

1-1/3 tablespoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons salt

Four 5-ounce boneless, skinless, chicken breasts

1/4 cup good-quality bottled sweet-and-spicy barbecue sauce


1/2 head iceberg lettuce, cored, cut into very thin strips

1/2 head romaine lettuce cut into very thin strips

12 large fresh basil leaves, cut into 1/8-inch wide strips

1 pound jicama, peeled and cut into thin julienne strips

2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup canned sweet white corn kernels, drained

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 pounds ripe fresh tomatoes cut into 1/2-inch dice

1/2 cup good-quality bottled barbecue sauce

1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion greens


In a deep, heavy frying pan, heat several inches of vegetable oil to a temperature of 375 degrees F. Working in batches if necessary to prevent overcrowding, carefully add the tortilla strips to the hot oil, submerging them with a metal skimmer or slotted spoon. Fry the tortilla strips until evenly golden, I to 2 minutes. Carefully lift them out with the skimmer or slotted spoon and transfer them to paper towels to drain and cool. Set aside, uncovered.


In a mixing bowl, use a fork to stir together the mustard and cold water, forming a paste. Set aside for 10 minutes. Add all the remaining dressing ingredients to the bowl and, using a handheld electric mixer at low speed or a whisk, blend together just until smooth, taking care not to incorporate too much air into the dressing. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.


Preheat broiler. In a mixing bowl, stir together the olive oil, garlic, soy sauce, and salt. Marinate chicken breasts in this mixture, at room temperature, for about 15 minutes. Broil chicken breasts until cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Chill in the refrigerator. Cut chicken into 3/4-inch cubes and, in a bowl, toss with the barbecue sauce to coat well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.


In a large bowl, toss the lettuces, basil, jicama, Monterey Jack cheese, beans, corn, cilantro, dressing, and half the tortilla strips. Transfer the salads to chilled serving plates. Surround each salad with diced tomatoes and the remaining tortilla strips. Top each salad with chunks of chicken and drizzle with barbecue sauce. Garnish with scallions.

Makes 4 main-course or 8 appetizer servings.

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