You guys, the epitome of summer is coming. It’s just days away, actually. What are you planning? I want to share in everyone’s 4th of July fun!
When I think of the perfect American summer, I immediately picture a July 4th cookout. Loads of family and friends, everyone bringing their favorite dish (though something grilled and slices of refreshing watermelon are a must), ice-cold beverages abound, and ending the night with fireworks. Is there a better version of summer? Not in my book.
Granted, I may be slightly bias, being born on Independence Day will do that to a person. However, I think many will agree that this holiday marks the height of the season. It’s summer in all its glory, all the best things.
When I was little, my parents used to say the fireworks were just for me. This was their clever way of convincing me to watch the display, because naturally the loud booms and bright lights scared the crap out of me. Slowly I came around, and that argument stuck with me. Eventually I owned it, and won’t consider the day complete without them.
Fast forward 30-ish years, and in addition to the fireworks, I look forward to a meal complete with all my favorite things. Being the birthday girl, I’m in charge of picking the holiday menu every year. One item I always have to include is a super tasty and piled high salad.
Salads are a mainstay at our summer gatherings. You need something with vegetables, that is a bit light, crisp, and satisfying. Typically a salad is a side, something that complements the other dishes you serve.
But, why do they always have to be a side? Why aren’t salads the focus of more main dishes? They can just as easily be the entrée, the star of your summer party menu. Especially when said salad is grilled. That’s right, GRILLED. Because you don’t have to only grill meat anymore. You can grill vegetables obviously, fruit even, but also salad. Light bulb moment!
Which is why this salad is great standing on its own for lunch, or would be a wonderful complement to our BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches for a dinner party. With watermelon on the side of course. Clearly, I have an infatuation with watermelon. Need an idea for my birthday gift? Send me some watermelon.
Try something different this July 4th, and serve up a one-of-a-kind salad. This is something that people likely haven’t tried before. Okay everyone has tried Cobb salad, but a grilled one, probably not. Thus, you’re soon to become the cool party guest that wowed with a salad. Go figure.
Bonus that the dish happens to look patriotic. Minus the blue, but green is a good substitute, maybe? Anyways, you have lots of beautiful color going on here. And you know what they say, eat the rainbow!
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- 4 teaspoons lemon zest
- ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cracked pepper
- ½ recipe lemon herb vinaigrette
- 1 - 1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 3 large romaine hearts, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 bunch asparagus
- Olive oil, salt, and pepper
- ½ pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 4 hard boiled eggs, halved and cubed
- 2 large tomatoes, cubed
- 2 avocados, cubed
- 6 scallions, thinly sliced
- ½ cup blue cheese crumbles (optional)
- Add all ingredients to a glass jar with a lid, and close tightly. Shake vigorously until combined.
- Add ½ recipe vinaigrette and chicken breasts to a gallon sized ziplock bag. Shake contents to distribute marinade, set on a plate, and place in refrigerator. Let the chicken marinade 4 hours or overnight.
- Remove chicken from the refrigerator, and heat your grill. Place romaine and asparagus on a platter, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
- Grill chicken on medium high heat until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to indirect heat until cooked through, and a thermometer reads 165 degrees. Set aside to cool.
- With heat on medium, place romaine and asparagus on the outer edges of grill to prevent burning. Cook 1-3 minutes per side, or until browned and lettuce is slightly wilted. Remove and set aside to cool.
- Once chicken and asparagus are cooled, cut into pieces or cubes.
- Place romaine halves on a platter and distribute toppings over each piece. Drizzle dressing to taste and serve immediately.
** If you don't have access to a grill, use a grill pan, or roast in the oven.
Dressing recipe adapted from: http://www.marthastewart.com/
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