To my Dearest Roasted Chicken and Butternut Salad with Gorgonzola, Walnuts, Bacon and Warm Cider Vinaigrette…
I’m not embarrassed to say that I’m crushing over you like a junior high girl. I have written you love notes. I have scribbled your name in my notebook, cursing the fact that it bears but five “I’s” for me to dot with hearts. Although it’s lengthy, I could get used to the sound of “Josh Roasted Chicken and Butternut Salad with Gorgonzola, Walnuts, Bacon, and Warm Cider Vinaigrette.” It sounds so much cooler than just “Josh Miller.”
It’s hard to say what I like about you the most — but I will try. There’s the sweet roasted goodness of your cubed butternut squash. Oh, and the way your gorgonzola cheese is just funky enough to make your cranberries fantastically tart. And your walnuts — I mean, who doesn’t love a walnut? It’s a solid tie between your meaty roasted chicken and your warm cider vinaigrette. And the bacon? OMG … you’re like the culinary equivalent of prom queen. Or king. Whatever.
If it were appropriate, I’d kiss you. But I can’t because you’re a salad and that would make a fantastic mess. So I guess I’ll have to settle with making you again and again, and sharing your fantastic deliciousness with my friends on the internet.
Until the next time you grace my plate, all my love…
Roasted Chicken and Butternut Salad
with Gorgonzola, Walnuts, Bacon and Warm Cider Vinaigrette
I’ll link you to Barefoot Contessa’s recipe, which inspired my creation. Follow her recipe for a purist’s take, or follow my tips to cut a little fat. Here’s a quick overview of the construction. Visit Ms. Contessa for the details.
Barefoot didn’t use chicken. I opted to try boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the first time. I was pleasantly surprised. Good flavor, very juicy. I soaked mine in cider vinegar for 20 minutes, drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper, and herb de provence, and roasted for around 30 minutes at 400 degrees with the veggies.
We all know that butchering a butternut is a pain, but it’s so good! You need cubes for this salad, so I’m afraid there’s no avoiding the hacking and cleaving. Sorry, Judy Cloe. If you want to make this I’ll peel and cube a squash for you. 😉 I also took a page from David (via Frank Stitt) and roasted some onions. So simple, but so good!
I don’t speak French … I just love that word. Okay — now the fun begins! These are the toppings that really make this salad. If you cook your bacon bits on the stove, you can be really naughty and sneak some of the drippings into your dressing! Hell yeah!
I didn’t take a picture of this. But I did have some mischief here. Barefoot calls for cider vinegar and regular cider. I didn’t have cider, so I substituted white wine and some sliced apple. She also said to use shallots, but really, who wants to go to the trouble of peeling a shallot? Not this Squirrel. So I used minced yellow onion. Oh, and I added the maple syrup to the vinaigrette instead of the roasted squash. Why? Because I can’t follow instructions. 😉
And that, my friends, is it. Like any good relationship, this salad requires a little work. Just try it once, and you’ll start to understand what me and this salad share. It’s way beyond a crush. I’m buying this salad a Promise Ring. 😉