There’s a certain day in the year…that one day…when you can feel spring giving way to summer. That tipping point when the sun is that much warmer, the days are that much longer, and all of the sudden you can see all those long lazy days stretching out in front of you, full of flip-flops and open windows and iced tea…and of course, the faithful barbecue grill. And you really need a good kick-off meal to kiss those chilly evenings and welcome summertime on in, and for me this year that was Gazpacho Chicken Salad.
Now, I need to confess that there’s one grill-based meal every summer that I make and make and make. There was the summer of grilled pizza in all forms. There was the summer of buttermilk grilled chicken. Last summer was the summer of grilled sandwiches made on the actual grill. But I think this summer I am officially declaring the Summer of Gazpacho Chicken Salad. It’s early, I know, but I’m ready to commit. I know love at first site when I see it.
Now, when we really get into those lazy, hazy days of July and August, the supporting cast for this recipe will look like this…
…but while we are still in the merry month of May, you should stick with cherry tomatoes, which are sweet and perfect, and wait on the big tomatoes until you can get them right in season. I used both red and yellow cherry tomatoes, and they were just the right amount of festive.
Now open up that grill, brush a couple of chicken breasts with a little bit of olive oil, sprinkle on some salt and pepper, and grill ’em up. Let them chill in your fridge until they are cold (and actually, room temperature works perfectly well too) and then tear them into bite sized pieces.
Now you’re going to chop up your veggies…the same tomato, cuke, red onion and pepper that you will find in gazpacho…and toss them in with the chicken. Now all that’s left to do is mix up a quick dressing of fresh lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, pour it over your chicken mixture, and give it all a good toss with a little fresh chopped parsley.
Welcome to summer.
Chipolte Chicken Salad, from Framed Cooks
Portuguese White Gazpacho, from Leite’s Culinaria
Clemson Gazpacho, from Framed Cooks
- 4 chicken breast halves
- Olive oil, salt and pepper for grilling
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- I lime, zested and juiced
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes or 6 regular tomatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 cucumber, diced
- ½ red onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced OR 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
- Brush chicken breasts lightly with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill until cooked through, 4-6 minutes per side. Cool and shred into bite-sized pieces.
- Make dressing by combining 3 tablespoons oilve oil with lime zest, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Combine chicken, vegetables and parsley in large bowl. Pour dressing over all and toss well. Serve either chilled or at room temperature.