Recipe 6.1: Buffalo Chicken Salad
The evolution of the buffalo chicken salad is quite a story, and it starts off in the Chili's restaurant chain. Rewind 6 or so years ago to when my friend Michelle and I would eat it multiple times a month while planning for our big European tour, then fast forward to 5 or so years ago when Jason and I had our first "date" at a Chili's, then continue fast forwarding through our year of long-distance dating when we always ate together at Chili's for our final meal together on every trip.
If you keep fast forwarding you will see me finding out how many calories are in Chili's version of the salad and swearing to never eat it again, and then deciding I could make a healthier version at home. This salad has gone through many progressions over the years, and now it is the tastiest it has ever been (and seriously so much better for us!).
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into small chunks
6 cups field greens, washed
4 roma tomatoes, diced
½ cup hot sauce
3 tbs. butter
1 cup panko bread crumbs
¾ cup crumbled gorgonzola or bleu cheese, divided
Non-stick cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Begin by setting up breading station for the chicken. Crack an egg into a shallow bowl and whisk to combine. In a second bowl, pour panko crumbs. Spray a glass baking dish with non-stick spray. Bread chicken by first soaking in egg (let the excess run off), then coat in panko. Press to stick. Place chicken in glass baking dish. Repeat until all chicken is breaded. Place dish in oven and cook approx. 10-15
minutes, or until crumbs are just starting to brown. Turn broiler on high. Spray chicken lightly with cooking spray, then place under broiler to toast the crumbs. Broil for 3-5 minutes, or until crumbs are golden brown (be very careful not to burn!).
While chicken cooks, prepare salads. Add 1 ½ cups field greens, 1 diced tomato, and the divided gorgonzola.
Prepare sauce by melting butter in a small saucepan. Once melted, add hot sauce. Mix to combine and allow to simmer. Once chicken is finished, drizzle sauce over chicken in dish. Toss to coat chicken. Divide chicken among the salad bowls.