Friday, December 16, 2011

Snap peas, Chicken, and Strawberry Salad

8 ounces fresh sugar snap peas, stringed/trimmed and rinsed
1 pound thinly sliced boneless, skinless chicken breast, or regular chicken breasts pounded to a thickness of 1/4- to 1/2-inch
About 3/8 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces (1 pint) strawberries, hulled, then cut into bite-size pieces
1 medium carrot, grated (about 1 cup, loosely packed)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Fill a large bowl with water and ice.

Steam or boil the sugar snap peas for 3 to 5 minutes, until just tender. Drain them and transfer to the bowl of ice water. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then drain and let dry. Leave small sugar snaps whole; cut medium ones in half and larger ones into 3 pieces.

Preheat the grill for direct heat. If using a gas grill, preheat to medium-high (450 degrees). If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them under the cooking area for direct heat. For a medium-hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for 4 or 5 seconds. Have ready a spray water bottle for taming any flames. Lightly coat the grill rack with oil and place it on the grill.

Sprinkle chicken with about 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper to taste over the chicken pieces, then use 1 tablespoon of the oil to brush the chicken.

Place the chicken pieces on the grill; close the lid and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, turning over the pieces once, until they are cooked through and lightly browned. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool for 10 minutes.

Cut the chicken crosswise into 1/2-inch strips, then into bite-size pieces, if desired. Transfer to a large bowl and add the sugar snaps, the strawberries and the grated carrot. Sprinkle the balsamic vinegar, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt over the salad; toss gently, making sure to distribute all of the oil and vinegar. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Serve warm, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes: This was awesome. Seriously so good. The peas were cooked to a nice, soft consistency and blended nicely with the strawberries and chicken. And yes, grilling the chicken makes such a difference; I'm sure of it. So good.

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