Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad

  • Prep Time: 40m
  • Cook Time: 20m

Ingredients

Salad

  • 2 c pecans
  • 4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 3 c spring mix lettuce blend
  • 1/3 c Candied Pecans (page 60)
  • 3/4 c blue cheese crumbles
  • 3/4 c dried cranberries
  • 3/4 c mandarin oranges
  • Balsamic vinaigrette

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. Hellmann’s® mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

Candied Pecans

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups pecan halves

Instructions

Salad

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. Grind the pecans in a food processor until they are the consistency of cornmeal.
  3. Add the flour to the food processor and pulse to mix. Pour the flour mixture into a pie plate.
  4. Pat the chicken breasts dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper.
  5. Pour the buttermilk into its own pie plate.
  6. Dip each chicken breast in the buttermilk to coat, then coat in the pecan mixture.
  7. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest breast registers 165F. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  8. Once the breasts have cooled, slice thinly, about ¼ inch thick.
  9. Arrange the lettuce on salad plates, and sprinkle the pecans, blue cheese, cranberries, and oranges on top of each salad.
  10. Place the chicken on top of the lettuce and serve with balsamic vinaigrette.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  1. Blend the balsamic vinegar, mayonnaise, water, garlic, mustard, and brown sugar together in a blender.
  2. Slowly add the olive oil until all ingredients are mixed well.
  3. Salt and pepper the dressing to taste.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Candied Pecans

  1. In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Add the granulated sugar and let it dissolve.
  3. Once the sugar is dissolved, pour in the pecans and stir.
  4. Let the pecans cook, stirring every few minutes. The liquid will begin to thicken.
  5. When most of the liquid has cooked out, the pecans will be shiny and sticky. Remove from the cooktop.
  6. Spread the pecans on the prepared sheet pan.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until they are not shiny and look frosty.
  8. Let the pecans cool and break apart before serving on the salad.