There was a bout of strangely warm weather last week that called for a little flexibility in the kitchen. Where food is concerned, I am ridiculously dedicated to seasons and weather, so when it’s 80 degrees and November, I get a little confused.
The solution was to make a salad that was a little heftier than your typical summer fare. Slowly caramelized onions were partnered with pine nuts, chicken, arugula and thin slivers of apple washed in a generous bath of balsamic vinegar and freshly cracked pepper.
The beauty of this is that the oil from the caramelized onions and the warmed chicken provided the foundation for the dressing – hence, all that was needed to finish was that fantastic balsamic.
Chicken Salad with Apple, Arugula, Pine Nuts and Onion
2 onions, sliced lengthwise
2/3 c pine nuts
2 small apples, thinly sliced
4-5 c. arugula
3 c. roasted chicken, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
salt + pepper
Place arugula in a large salad bowl and set aside.
Caramelize onions over low heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. (This is the only lengthy time commitment for the salad; if pressed for time, saute them for 10 minutes to release a little bit of that jammy sweetness.)
Roast pine nuts in a toaster oven at 250 degrees until golden, approximately 10 minutes.
Warm the chicken in a pan with some oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
While chicken, onions and pine nuts are still hot, combine them with the arugula. This will wilt the greens. Add the apples. Douse with balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste, toss.
Serve at room temperature.