Nothing especially unusual or creative about this salad, though the combination of the French dressing with the blue cheese may be new to some. Just a really good salad.
When cooking the chicken, I add lots of fresh ground pepper, on all sides of the chicken pieces. Also plenty of the herbs. The amount I use would be way too much if just eating the chicken as an entree. But here you are eating the chicken with the salad, and the heavily seasoned chicken helps to season the salad. At least this works for me.
As far as the herbs are concerned, any herbs that go well with chicken could be used–rosemary, tarragon, thyme would all be good candidates. I used a mixture from Penzeys Spices they call bouquet garni. It includes savory, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, dill, marjoram, sage, and tarragon (I meant it when a said it was a mixture!). I’ve ended up getting and trying out lots of different spices from them. Part of the reason is that when you order 3 or 4 spices, you have to pay for shipping, which alone can be equivalent to a couple of more bottles. So I’ll order more to qualify for free shipping.
I have always enjoyed blue cheese dressings made with French dressing, which seems to have been more common years ago. I decided on a French dressing for this salad, though with the blue cheese sprinkled on top of the salad, not combined with the dressing. The dressing here has been adapted from a French dressing recipe by Martha Stewart, which uses a lot less sugar than most of the recipes out there. A note on the quantities. I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to putting dressing on salads. The quantitites given produced just the right amount of dressing for me. If you tend to like more generous amounts of dressing on your salads, you may want to increase the amount, and quantities for a somewhat larger portion are given in parentheses after each ingredient.
Chicken and blue cheese salad
chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
fresh ground pepper
herbs (see discussion above)
tomato, cut in wedges
red onion, thinly sliced
blue cheese, crumbled
4 teaspoons (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) olive oil (2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar (4 teaspoons, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon ketchup (4 teaspoons, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon)
3/4 teaspoon sugar (1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon paprika (3/4 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon)
Heat olive oil in a pan. Add the chicken. Add plenty of fresh ground pepper and herbs to chicken, turning the pieces and seasoning multiple sides. Cook, over medium heat, turning occasionally, until the chicken starts to brown and is cooked through.
Arrange the tomatoes, onion, and olives on the romaine. Whisk, or shake in a small jar the oil, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce. Spoon the dressing over the salad. Place the hot chicken in the middle. Sprinkle crumbled blue cheese over the salad.