Thursday, May 9, 2013

Big bowl of salad night: Buffalo chicken salad edition

Maybe my incredible dance-bilities have already given this away, but I'm a very rhythm-oriented person. I like routine and am glad that we seem to have settled into one. Sure Alex's schedule is kind of a mess, but mine has become quite regular and follows a fine pattern. Fish Fry-day. Farmers' market Saturday. And roast chicken on Sunday to kick off our weeknight dinners.
However, in following this pattern, I also routinely display a few less than scrupulous chicken roasting habits. Occasionally I can be found standing over the stove, pulling the still too hot, crispy-skinned wing tops off a cooling browned bird. A crime of passion, you can be sure. But what's worse is my premeditated disappearing of one of the chicken's prized breasts. Not for my own immediate consumption, mind, but for the sake of the next day's salad. Because I have discovered joy, and it's name is buffalo chicken salad.
The key here is the dressing, which starts by creaming blue cheese into a spoonful or two of tangy plain yogurt.  Introduced next are a squeeze of lemon, pinch of salt, grind of pepper, splash of olive oil, and one too many shakes of Tobasco. I like it just hot enough to make me uncomfortable, so it is still edible for my pale palette, and yet tingles Alex's inherent tastes. It's about four shakes, for us.
Next to the bowl are minced shallots. Nichols has been providing these little shallots for a few months, and the flavor is exceptional, which makes it worth peeling each one. Additional vegetable required to complete the profile include radishes, pretty pink, thinly sliced, and still only delicately spicy at this time of year, and buffalo classic: crunchy celery.
Mix in lettuce, chopped chicken, and a few croutons to finish.
Things I like best about this salad include:
  1. Deliciousness. This salad is crisp, creamy, and filling for your soul.
  2. Ease of cleanup. One bowl to rule them all if you make the dressing at the bottom of whatever you are serving this salad in. Another routine occurrence: on "Big Bowl of Salad Nights" we eat out of the serving bowl, so no extra plates are harmed in the consumption of this salad.
  3. Ease of preparation.  Is there a better feeling than being able to cook without shopping? To just come home and prepare a meal out of what is in your home? I don't think so.  (The flip side, of course, is that there is nothing worse than having to buy ALL of the ingredients in a recipe. No. Just no. I can't do it.) This is a very "staple friendly" recipe, the kind that says: You got this!
And so, as our forks clash in a battle for the biggest cube of chicken, I forgive myself the trickery, the questionably moral hiding of food. And make a plan to do it again. And again.

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