The orange dressing used in this salad recipe has a refreshing tang with just a slight hint of smokiness.
Mesquite wood has a powerful flavor and if not used in moderation can easily overpower the flavor of meat, especially the delicate nature of chicken breasts. Yet, if used properly, it offers interesting results.
One flavor I find that goes well with mesquite is the flavors of citrus fruit, especially orange. The flavors in this orange dressing blend well with the mesquite smoked chicken. The addition of Mandarin oranges and orange zest contribute for a delightful and refreshing salad that makes for a great lunch, but hearty enough for a light dinner as well.
- 4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- ½ red onion, sliced into rings, then halved
- ½ red bell pepper, diced
- ½ cucumber, sliced, then halved
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 14-1/2 oz can of Mandarin oranges, drained
- salt and pepper to taste
- zest of 1/2 orange for garnish
- about a 1/4 cup of mesquite smoking chips, soaked in water for 30 minutes
- juice of 1 orange
- zest of 1/2 orange
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Toss and cover. Place in refrigerator to chill.
- Combine orange dressing ingredients and set aside
- Prepare a grill for direct grilling using medium-high heat.
- Place the smoking chips on the hot coals. If using a gas grill, wrap chips in aluminum foil and pierce the top several times with a fork. Place under the cooking grates.
- Once the chips begin to smoke, place chicken on the grill and cover.
- Cook chicken breasts for about 8 minutes per side or until an instant-read meat thermometer reads 165°F (75°C).
- Remove chicken from grill and cover. When cool enough to handle, slice into strips and set aside.
- Place salad ingredients on individual plates. Top with chicken and drizzle with the dressing. Garnish with the Mandarin oranges and orange zest and serve.