Enjoy the Summer Greens: McMan's Green Mountain Grilled Chicken

John McManamy Health Guide
  • Virtually all my dinners are served with salad, but I tend to regard the task of putting one together as a last-minute chore rather than a passion. Unlike the rest of my menu, nothing about my salad says feast your eyes, feast your palette. My routine is to empty some salad mix into a bowl with a bit of this and a bit of that, plop it on the table and wait for guests to go wild over my cassoulet or risotto.

    But during the summer months, greens come into their own while the starchy dishes take a back seat. My summer MO is to build a mountain of greens and all sorts of yummies as a base for grilled chicken breast.
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    McMan’s Green Mountain Grilled Chicken

    The only constants about this “recipe” are the salad greens and the chicken.

    First empty a bag of fresh salad greens into a bowl. I favor any number of blends with dark green and purple leaves. Taste-wise and nutrition-wise, these leave iceberg lettuce for dead. Some greens enhancers include alfalfa sprouts and chopped mint or chopped basil.

    Now for the first family of yummy things: No salad of mine is complete without cheese. Crumbled feta tends to be my favorite. Freshly shaved parmesan is another contender. In a pinch I’ll toss in whatever I have in the fridge – shredded cheddar, shredded mozzarella, you name it. The cheese tends to be the fattiest ingredient in the salad, but we’re not talking about biohazard quantities.

    Next round of yummies, something red: My choice here is cherry tomatoes or strawberries, chopped in half. If you’ve never tried strawberries in salad you’re in for a treat.

    Now for something fleshy: Choices include sliced Portobello mushrooms fried in oil with a bit of light butter and garlic, chopped hard boiled egg, Greek olives, or chunks of avocado. Avocados are very high in fat, but health food advocates (as well as the avocado industry) point out that the fat is the monounsaturated variety, ie “good” fat that lowers “bad” cholesterol.

    Next something small: Cranraisins or a light sprinkling of toasted pine nuts.

    Finally something crunchy: Croutons, low-fat taco chips, veggie chips, or cracker pieces.

    Don’t throw anything into the bowl just yet. We have a chicken breast to take care of first.

    Coat a large skinless chicken breast with salt and your favorite dry rub mixtures. Then plop onto a heated frying pan or griller. Skinless chicken breast contains hardly any saturated fat, which makes it my favorite meat.

    Okay, NOW, you can mix the salad. You may want to reserve the cheese. You may also want to add in your favorite salad dressing. Empty the mixed salad onto two plates. The salad should take up the whole plate and resemble a flat-topped green mountain. If you have reserved the cheese, this is the time to “snow-cap” the mountain with the cheese.

    When the chicken is done, slice diagonally across into1/2 inch-thick strips. Lay the strips standing up across the top of each salad. If you haven’t already added dressing, have enough varieties available for guests to add their own. Don’t be afraid to pour it right over the chicken.

  • You may want to toss some small boiled red potatoes on the side of each plate. Otherwise, serve with your favorite bread. Take my word for it, this is rabbit food that’s too good for the rabbits. Serves two.
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Published On: July 13, 2006