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This salad is a regular at our house. It has won its way into our recurring recipe rotation and we never seem to tire of it. A salad is also one of my favorite ways to usher in the official start to the summer.
The combination of crispy Romaine lettuce, shredded chicken, crunchy tortilla strips, chunks of avocado and the lime cilantro dressing make it hard not to love, especially if you are a fan of Mexican food.
There are a few extra steps to this salad that are worth doing. The first is to fry thin slices of store-bought corn tortillas to make crispy strips. Sure, you can buy a high quality tortilla chips and use them instead but I assure you that frying them is worth the effort. The second is taking the time to grill the corn on the barbecue. The charred kernels give a caramelized, smoky flavor to the salad that adds a subtle but important flavor.
I encourage you to make the cilantro lime vinaigrette, but in the interest of saving time if you have a store-bought favorite, use it!
Makes 4 servings
Cilantro Lime vinaigrette:
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons cider or white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup vegetable or olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Homemade fried tortilla strips:
4 corn tortillas, halved and thinly sliced
2 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded or sliced into bite size pieces
6 cups thinly sliced Romaine lettuce
3 ears fresh corn (about 2 cups kernels)
1 (15.5 ounce) can black or kidney beans drained and rinsed
1 cup grated Monterey jack or cheddar cheese
1 medium size tomato, diced
1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
For the cilantro lime vinaigrette, put cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, cider vinegar, honey, mustard, garlic and oil in a jar and cover with a lid; shake until evenly mixed, or put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour half of the dressing over the shredded cooked chicken; toss to coat evenly; refrigerate one hour or overnight, turning a few times.
For the tortilla strips, heat about 1-inch depth of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, fry sliced corn tortillas, until lightly brown and crisp, about 3 minutes; remove from oil and transfer to paper towels and sprinkle with salt.
For the corn, preheat a grill to medium heat. Remove outer husk from corn. Grill corn, turning several times during cooking, until kernels are lightly charred and softened, about 10 minutes. Remove from grill and allow cooling. Cut kernels off cob.
To serve salad toss lettuce, chicken, beans, corn, cheese, tomato, avocado and marinated chicken with remaining dressing. Divide onto four plates and top with crisp tortilla strips.