Monday 5 December 2016

Forkful's speedy suppers: Chicken and avocado salad

Aoife McElwain

Published 29/07/2016 | 02:30

Forkful's Chicken and avocado salad. Photo: Mark Duggan 
Forkful's Chicken and avocado salad. Photo: Mark Duggan 

We all know there are two types of salads; ones that you stoically struggle through motivated by its inherent health benefits, and then there are the salads that are just easy to eat. This week's salad for supper is one of the latter. It's really, truly delicious. Avocados are beauts in any form, and this dressing proves it.

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The chicken is what makes this salad a substantial supper, but you could keep it vegetarian by adding more avocados, greens or sprouted greens. I've been making a move towards organic-only poultry, bought from Coolanowle Organic Butcher in my local farmer's market in Dublin 8. Organic seems to me to guarantee that the bird is both free-range and being fed a healthy diet.

These factors are important for me, because I believe that kinder farming is better for the environment, for the animal, and for my supper. Putting this kind of thought into poultry is a personal choice, and often a budgetry one, so get the highest quality chicken that you can. It will make a difference in your supper.

It's not often I cook chicken breasts. I find them a little dull and dry, and much prefer meat on the bone. However, when they're doused in a good spice rub and cooked quickly in a hot frying pan, they can be really rather delicious.

My sister-in-law lives in the US and often sends me care packages from fancy homewares store Williams-Sonoma. They have a range of spice rubs, and I love their Sriracha Kaffir Lime Rub, particularly when cooking chicken. It adds a really pleasant kick to grilled chicken, but it's subtle enough to work alongside a creamy avocado dressing.

You could make up your own spice rub using smoked paprika, ground cumin and chilli flakes.

Chicken and avocado salad

Serves 2

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

For the chicken:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 chicken breasts

1 tablespoon of your favourite spice rub for chicken

For the dressing:

1 ripe avocado

3 tablespoons of crème fraiche

Juice of half a lime

Salt

Pepper

For the salad

1 spring onions

4 radishes

1 large bag of salad greens

METHOD

1. Heat the olive oil in large frying pan over a medium to high heat.

2. Cover the chicken breasts in your spice rub. Add to the hot frying pan and cook for about five minutes on both sides, until the chicken is deliciously blackened and cooked through. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

3. Meanwhile, make your avocado dressing by separating the flesh of the avocado from the skin and pit, and transferring to your food processor. Add the crème fraiche and lime juice, plus a generous pinch of salt and pepper, and blitz until everything is well combined. You want a thick yet creamy dressing, and you can add a drop of water if you'd prefer it to be a runnier texture.

4. Finely slice the spring onion and the radish. Slice the chicken into strips. Arrange the salad greens on a large serving plate and top with the slices of radish, spring onion and chicken strips.

5. Drizzle the salad with the avocado dressing, and serve with some lovely crusty bread on the side.

This week's storecupboard essential:

Spice rub: Don't think that you have to make everything from scratch in the kitchen, at least not during the week anyway. Having a couple of great spice mixes in your spice cupboard is a must. Try Ras El-Hanout or a spicy chilli-based rub like my Sriracha Kaffir Lime Rub.

Irish Independent

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