Let’s get one thing clear: I will never be too fancy for this salad. This is my favorite salad of all time. My California mama cooked our family a delicious, healthy, fresh dinner every night of my life. Fast food was very rare at the Watson house, as was fried food, but she made the most incredible organic chicken tenders for awards show nights. (My die-hard readers know what huge fans of the Oscars and Emmys we are.) I adapted the chicken tenders only slightly as an adult and my absolute favorite way to eat them is in a salad with cheddar cheese, bacon, tomatoes, avocado, hard boiled egg, and creamy ranch dressing.
Homemade chicken tenders are not hard. Don’t be intimidated. I love to serve them when I’m doing a tapas/appetizer night with ranch for dipping. I also love them as part of my Chicken and Waffles. All you do is soak organic chicken breast tenders in buttermilk all day, then dip them in a flour/herb mixture, beaten egg, and Panko bread crumbs and fry ’em up. Once you taste these bad boys, you’ll never go back. I should have cut into these for the photos so you could see how juicy they are!
My mom also happens to make the best hard boiled eggs and I follow her recipe to the T. They turn out perfectly every time. Just make sure you use old eggs that are a week old. That’s the key! Fresh eggs don’t peel nicely.
This salad hits the spot like nothing else does. To me, this is the ultimate comfort food. You’ve got the crisp bacon tangoing with the creamy avocado, the warm chicken tenders that are so juicy from a day soaking in buttermilk, and a perfect hard boiled egg is just the cherry on top. I hope you love this salad as much as I do!
The Rose Table’s Favorite Salad (Chicken Tender Salad)
8 cups greens
1 lbs homemade chicken tenders, recipe follows
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, cut into cubes
4 slices bacon
4 hard boiled eggs, recipe follows
1 cup cherry tomatoes
- Cook chicken tenders, recipe below.
- While tenders are cooking, prepare the salad. Divide greens among four bowls.
- Cut bacon strips into lardons and fry until crispy.
- Cut avocado into slices.
- Wash tomatoes and slice in half.
- Divide crispy bacon, avocado, tomatoes, and cheese cubes between the four bowls.
- Peel hard boiled eggs and slice in half. Add two halves to each bowl.
- When tenders are finished cooking, add two to each bowl. Drizzle ranch dressing on top and serve.
1 lbs organic chicken tenders
1 cup buttermilk, low-fat
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Salt, dried oregano
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil for frying
- Rinse chicken tenders and pat dry. Place in a gallon ziplock bag and cover with buttermilk. Zip shut and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- Pull chicken out half an hour before you want to make the dish. (Never cook meat straight from the fridge!) When ready to make tenders, season flour with salt and oregano and put in a shallow dish. Pour Panko in a shallow dish. Crack an egg in a third shallow dish and beat lightly with a fork.
- Preheat electric skillet to 325 degrees. Pour just enough vegetable oil to cover the electric skillet. When hot, pull each tender out one at a time, allowing access buttermilk to drip off. Dredge in seasoned flour, then dip in egg (make sure all sides are coated), then cover with Panko breadcrumbs. (I like to set it in the Panko, press down slightly, then repeat on the other side.) Set in electric skillet and repeat with remaining tenders, working quickly.
- Cook about 4-5 minutes per side or until deeply golden. An internal thermometer should read 170 degrees.
- Carefully set eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Place pan on stove and bring to a boil. When water begins to boil, cover pan with lid and remove from heat. Set a timer for 22 minutes.
- Prepare ice bath by filling a medium sized bowl with ice and water. Right when the timer goes off, remove eggs from saucepan with a slotted spoon and plunge into ice bath. Let sit in ice bath for about fifteen minutes, then remove and refrigerate or use immediately.
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