Lunch break! My to-do notebook sits alone at the end of the table… while this salad and myself sit on the other side.
After I shared a Food52 fennel-focused salad that intrigued me last week, I decided to make it (well, make something sort of like it) this week! The result was pretty awesome. I’d even say this salad competes with my best salad yet, but I don’t think it could be an ultimate winner because it’s more of a “special” salad than a “staple” salad, if you know what I mean.
So if you are craving something CITRUS and something SPECIAL — this orange-fennel salad (topped with pistachio-crumbed chicken) is for you!Now, let’s talk chicken. I thought the idea of a fennel-orange salad sounded lovely, but knew I’d have to beef up (well, chicken up) the recipe to make it less side-like and more meal-worthy.You could easily top the salad with plain oven-baked or grilled chicken (or shrimp, which also sounds good!) — but if you’ve got a bit of time, maybe try the pistachio-crumbed chicken. The salty-sweet taste and slight crunch make a difference!Plus, “crusted chicken” is basically a fancy term for “chicken fingers,” which is basically a fancy term for “oversized chicken nuggets.” And who doesn’t want some chicken nuggets on their salad.
Enough of me trying to be funny… let’s get to the recipe.
For the salad:
- 1 large tub of arugula
- 2 bulbs of fennel, sliced thinly
- 2 navel oranges, peeled and cut
- 2 small red onions, sliced
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
For the chicken:
- 3 large chicken breasts
- 1.25 cups salted/dry roasted pistachios, shelled and smashed
- 3/4 cups bread crumbs
- 2.5 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 eggs
For the dressing:
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1.5 tablespoons orange zest
- 5 tablespoons olive/canola oil (I used 2.5 of each)
- 3 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 glove garlic, smashed
- 1.5 teaspoons dried tarragon
- salt + pepper
Directions – salad: Start by caramelizing the onions for the salad — melt butter and brown sugar together in a pan on low heat, then add onions and cook on medium-high for a few minutes. Cool. Then, mix a big handful of arugula, small handful of fennel, some orange slices, and the carmelized onions together. Toss with dressing.
Directions – chicken: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If you have a meat tenderizer, tenderize the chicken until it’s thin (like 3/4 inch thick) — if not, butterfly-cut parts of the meat that are especially thick to get a thinner result. Cut chicken into lengthwise tender shapes. Mix olive oil, dijon, honey, and eggs in a small bowl. Mix breadcrumbs and smashed pistachios in a larger, flatter bowl. Dip chicken strips in egg mixture, then coat in breadcrumb mixture. Place on a greased/Pam-ed tray and cook in oven for 15 minutes at 400; then broil on high for 5 more minutes.
Directions – dressing: Mix all ingredients together and stir well.
Put it all together… and you’ve got a helluva lunch