Chicken Salad with Black Grapes, Oranges & Walnut Dressing
by Kelly Clark, Carrboro Farmers' Market , Carrboro, North Carolina
- 3 cups Smart Chicken, poached or cooked and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 cup small red onion, thinly sliced into matchstick-sized pieces.
- 1 1/4 cups seedless black grapes, halved
- 4 Turkish dried figs, thinly sliced
- 2 1/2 ounces Stilton blue cheese, crumbled into small chunks
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2/3 cup walnut pieces, roughly chopped
- 2 large navel oranges
- 1 head bibb lettuce
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Zest of 1 large navel orange
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup walnut oil
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a jellyroll pan or cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
Combine all of the ingredients for the dressing except the walnut oil, and mix well. Slowly whisk in the walnut oil. Put the walnut pieces in the dressing and toss lightly to coat. Remove the walnut pieces with a slotted spoon and spread on the foil-lined cookie sheet. Set dressing aside. Place coated walnuts in the oven and toast for about 10 to 13 minutes until golden brown. Toss 2 or 3 times during cooking, watching carefully so the walnuts do not burn. Remove from oven and set aside.
Combine the chicken, red onion, grapes, figs, blue cheese, and green onions in a bowl. Whisk the dressing again, then pour two-thirds of the dressing over the top of the salad, reserving the other one third. Toss lightly to coat. Chill for several hours or overnight. If chilling overnight, keep the walnuts in an airtight container, making sure they are cooled completely before sealing. Store the extra dressing in the refrigerator.
Before serving, trim the skin from the oranges, including the white pith. Cut each orange width-wise into 3 or 4 slices, and then chop the slices into bite-sized chunks. Add the oranges and the walnuts to the chicken salad and toss lightly. Add more dressing if necessary, and adjust salt to taste.
To serve this salad, make a lettuce “cup” with some of the bibb lettuce leaves and place the salad in the cup.