The Perfect Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Salad

The Perfect Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Salad

The Perfect Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Salad

Summertime marks fresh, bountiful farmer's market produce at its peak season, fashioning more flavorful ingredients.  
The secret to a distinguished and unforgettable salad is the fresh ingredients. Chilled, dry, crisp lettuce greens, various textures, and layers of flavors with a balance of vinegar and oil, sometimes citrus replacing the vinegar. Season each layer of ingredient tasting as you go to get that perfect salad. 
This is more than your basic green, tossed, mixed, or garden salad. When a few ingredients are prepped, this eye-catching colorful salad makes a memorable meal that can quickly become a staple recipe.
The Greek dressing nicely pulls this salad together, making a well-rounded nosh paired with the juicy brined grilled chicken. 
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
0 mins
Total Time 57 mins
Course Dinner, Salad
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 4 chicken breasts 
  • 1/2 cup cup olive oil extra virgin (Used in dressing and for grilling)
  • 12.3 ounces Kalamata olives   in brine and pitted
  • 2 large red peppers cut into quarters
  • 4 cucumbers Persian  julienned (mini cucumbers)
  • 15.5 can garbanzo beans  rinsed
  • 10.5 feta cheese authentic Greek in brine broken apart into bite-size pieces
  • 10 ounces herbed mixed lettuce (2-5 ounce bags)
  • 11.85 ounces Middle Eastern flatbread (1 bag with 4 flatbreads)
  • 4 pepperoncini peppers sliced thinly or presliced
  • 1 lemon fresh, cut into four wedges

Chicken Marinade

  • 4 chicken breasts pounded evenly to 1/2 inch thick
  • 6 ounces  Kalamata olive juice  3/4 cup
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic minced and pasted (1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground

Pickled Red Onion

  • 1 medium red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt kosher

Greek Dressing

  • 1/2 cup olive oil extra virgin
  • 3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar Pompeian
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon 
  • 2 teaspoons shallot minced
  • 1 teaspoon  lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 clove garlic minced and pasted
  • 1 teaspoon  sweet basil dried
  • 1/8 teaspoon  oregano dried
  • 1/8 teaspoon  salt kosher as needed
  • 1/8 teaspoon  black pepper freshly ground as needed

Tzatziki Dip

  • 5.3 ounces Greek yogurt Fage
  • 2 Tablespoons+1Teaspoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic minced and pasted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt kosher
  • 2 Tablespoons Persian cucumber peeled and finely minced

Instructions
 

Chicken Marinade

  • Add chicken to a gallon ziplock bag. Add all ingredients and marinate for at least one hour in the refrigerator. Overnight brining gives excellent flavor.

Pickled Red Onion

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Let marinate at room temperature for one hour.  After one hour, refrigerate for later use. 

Greek Dressing

  • Combine all ingredients into a small food processor.  Or whisk oil into the vinegar vigorously until it becomes emulsified and has a creamy consistency. 

Tzatziki Dip

  • Combine and mix all ingredients.

Prep Ahead Before Grilling

  • Chicken marinade, pickled red onion, dressing, and tzatziki.  Cut your peppers for the grill and drizzle a little olive oil with a sprinkling of salt.  After slicing cucumbers, give a sprinkle of rice wine vinegar with a pinch of salt.

Lettuce Prepration

  • Wash and dry your greens, removing any traces of dirt. Salad spinners are great for removing all the water. Salad dressing adheres best to well-dried lettuce. If you don’t have a salad spinner, wash the greens in a large colander and drain well. Spread the greens onto a sheet tray lined with clean, lint-free kitchen towels and refrigerate until dry; additionally, you may need to lightly blot the greens with dry kitchen towels making sure the lettuce leaves are dry. Refrigerating the lettuce will give you a crisper final salad. There is nothing worse than a watered-down salad, so this is an essential primary step.

How to Grill 

  • Preheat grill to 450 degrees.  You will need a thermometer to check the chicken's internal temperature.  
  • Meanwhile, lightly coat yellow and orange peppers with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.  Finally, lightly brush the chicken with olive oil on both sides.  Using the same brush that you used on the raw chicken for other foods can lead to cross-contamination, so make sure you use separate brushes and utensils for anything else.  Tongs that you flip the raw chicken with should not be used again; use a clean new pair of tongs to finish grilling.  Have separate colored cutting boards, red for meats, green for vegetables,  fruits, and salads.  Blue for raw fish, white cutting board for dairy and bread, bakery items, brown for cooked meats, and carving cooked meats.  Finally, sanitize all utensils and cutting boards.
  • Once the grill has reached temperature, turn the flames down to medium heat.
  • How to crosshatch your chicken breast?  First, place the chicken on the grill at a 45-degree angle to the grate, so your marks will be angled.  Next, give the chicken a 90-degree turn, a quarter turn, marking the chicken a second time, creating a crosshatch.  Next, flip the chicken repeating grill marks.  You can check how markings are coming along by taking a peek at the underside of the chicken.  These markings provide an impressive professional look to at-home cooking.  At the same time, add the peppers to the grill, skin side down.  As peppers get a char on them, turn them over to finish grilling, about 8-10 minutes.  It will depend on your grill and how quickly the chicken and vegetables cook. 
  • Check the internal temperature of the chicken breast in the thickest part.  It should read 165 degrees, any less, and you risk unsafe meat any more, and you risk drying out the chicken.  When the chicken's internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, remove the chicken from the grill and let rest 5 minutes before cutting.  Grill time will vary depending on the size of your chicken breast.
  • Remove peppers when both sides have been grilled.  Slightly cool peppers.  Using the backside of your knife, scrape the skin side of the peppers, removing the charred skin.  Slice peppers into wide strips.  Set aside for salad assembly. 
  • Grill Middle Eastern flatbread on both sides.  Cut into wedges. 

Salad Assembly 

  • Lightly coat greens with the vinaigrette just before assembling and serving the salad; careful to not overdress the salad. 
    I like using my hands, so  I know each lettuce green is getting a very light coating of the dressing.  Next, add a couple small pinches of salt to the salad greens. 
  • Add a large handful and a half of salad for each portion to each salad. 
  • Slice each chicken breast into 1/2-inch diagonal slices.  Add to top of each salad. 
  • Add cucumbers, sliced peppers, feta cheese, garbanzo beans, pickled onion, pepperoncini peppers, whole olives, middle eastern bread, and tzatziki dip to each salad.  Finish salad with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice. 
  • Note: You can prep ingredients a day ahead making it a breeze to get dinner on the table. Most of the prep work is easy and its the time marinading that takes most time. If your family loves dips and spreads, you may want to double the tzatziki dip and the Middle Eastern bread. 
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