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Garden Chicken Salad with Buttermilk-Herb Dressing

Turn a simple garden salad into a meal by topping it with pan-seared chicken tenders, crispy garlic croutons and a light and tangy dressing made with buttermilk, sour cream, lemon juice and zest, garlic, fresh basil, and chopped parsley.

Garden Chicken Salad with Buttermilk-Herb Dressing

Garden Chicken Salad with Buttermilk-Herb Dressing

  • Ingredients:
  • 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lbs chicken tenderloins (12 pieces)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 8 cups romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 4 slices sweet onion, separated into rings
  • 1 lb ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges (we used the Campari variety)
  • For the garlic croutons:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 2 cups diced Italian bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the dressing:
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chiffonade of fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a shallow baking pan with parchment.

Prepare the dressing by adding the buttermilk, olive oil, sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, onion, basil and parsley to the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the dressing is smooth and well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper, blend again and transfer to a bowl for serving.

Using a sharp knife, trim away any white tendons from the chicken tenderloins and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Film the bottom of a large skillet with a small amount of olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the tenderloins in a single layer and cook until lightly browned and no longer pink in the middle, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Wipe out the pan, place over medium-high heat and add the butter and olive oil for the croutons. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the bread cubes, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat with the butter-oil mixture. Transfer the croutons to the prepared baking pan and bake until crisp and light golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Assemble the salads by arranging the lettuce, cucumber, tomato wedges and onion on 4 serving plates. Top each with chicken tenderloins, croutons and a drizzle of dressing. Pass the remaining dressing at the table.

Makes 4 servings

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