I awoke Sunday morning to a lovely predicament. I hadn’t yet given any thought as to what dish I would bring to my dear friend’s wedding shower that afternoon.
Now, I’m not going to lie to you or make any attempt to be humble here. I f-ing rock in the kitchen. I am the person you look forward to having at your parties because you know I’m going to bring something unexpected and awesome. Usually, I start planning a mini-feast the second I open an invitation.
This is the third wedding shower I’ve been to during the past couple of months. For the first one, I brought smoked salmon and cream cheese on garlic toast points. It was a tea party theme and the celebration was held at an art gallery. I thought that sort of finger food was chi chi enough for the mood.
For this one, I grabbed the July issue of Gourmet magazine to see if anything made my mouth water. I wanted something summery, light and trippy on the tongue. It had to be a quick fix with a focus on fresh ingredients.
The shower was going to be at the maid of honor’s parents’ house and there would be many margaritas. In fact, one of our (the bride-to-be and bridesmaids’) favorite places to go is a local restaurant chain called Margaritas. I passed on the recipes for Cilantro Rice and an amazing looking Grilled Salmon with Lime Butter Sauce. Too time consuming and not too easy to transport.
I giggled when I spotted the recipe for Chipotle Chicken Salad. What’s this I see in Gourmet Magazine? A salad that calls for Fritos? This I have got to try. All minimally processed ingredients (except the Fritos) and a 10-minute prep time. Did I mention it called for Fritos?
I set off to the store and bundled everything in the cart. (Note: no elderly men yelling at me in the parking lot this time.) I picked deep red peppers, an unruly bundle of cilantro, baby limes and almost-black avocados. I have so much fun in the produce aisle.
I made my way home, put on some music and got to chopping.
Chipotle Chicken Salad
Active Time: 10 minutes
1 Rotisserie Cooked Chicken (2 lbs.) at room temperature
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 15- to 19-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro sprigs
1 rounded tablespoon canned chipotles in adobo*
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 firm-ripe avocados, halved, pitted and cut into 1/2 inch cubes**
3 oz. Fritos (1 1/2 cups)
1 heart of romaine lettuce
*If you live in a 98 percent Caucasian state like I do, you can find this in the “ethnic” aisle of your grocer. Adobo has plenty of heat to it, so cut back on this if you no lika the spice.
**If you are making this ahead of time, wait to cut the avocados until you serve the salad, or toss the avocado chunks with a splash of citrus juice and store them in a separate container to keep them from turning brown.
In addition, I added chopped fresh red peppers (2), another avocado (because I love them) and 2 more hearts of romaine. I was making it for a crowd. You do what you want. Here’s what you do with all that mess when you get it home:
1)Trim the bottoms and about a half-inch off the top of the romaine hearts. Chop or tear into bite-size chunks and toss in a big bowl.
2)In a separate large bowl, mix the black beans, onions, and fresh red pepper chunks (if using).
3)Remove all the meat from the chicken. Add to bowl of black beans.
4)In a blender or food processor, puree the cilantro, chipotles, olive oil, lime juice and salt and pepper. Taste it. Add more salt, pepper or chipotle as necessary. Add to chicken/veggie mix and mix well.
5)Just before serving, toss the chicken mixture with the lettuce. Top with avocado chunks and Fritos.
Have fun savoring the salty crunchiness of the Fritos against the tang and smoothness of the avocados. The lime and cilantro are two of my favorite “tastes that taste great together.” You can make this a day ahead of time and store the lettuce and chicken/veggie mixtures in their separate bowls. Just bust out the avocados and Fritos when you’re ready to serve.
Also – the book, “Refined To Real Food : Moving Your Family Toward Healthier, Wholesome Eating,” by Allison Anneser is a GREAT resource. I know the authors, and it has been really helpful for me in my quest to eat “real” food.