So, why is this Pre-Birth Salad?
Because Afterbirth Salad does not have the same ring to it.
Actually, it’s called Pre-Birth Salad because I made this for dinner on the night The Wife went into labor. Yeah, I sent my wife into the delivery room with only a salad in her stomach. We ate at 6 p.m., she started contractions around 11 or so, our first trip to the hospital was at 2 a.m. and our second trip was around 7 a.m. By the time she gave birth she was a little hungry.
The salad works best during the summer due to the abundance of fresh berries. Locally, strawberries are just now being picked and we’re still a ways off from prime raspberry and blueberry season. The complement of berries at Wegmans is nice and somewhat affordable (Blackberries are outrageously priced year-round regardless of store. They are very optional.) at this stage of the year.
WHAT WORKED: Advance cooking. The one thing that doesn’t work well in this salad is hot chicken. I grilled some boneless, skinless breasts and thighs a day in advance, then refrigerated them overnight.
WHAT DIDN’T: Remember those blackberries? I tossed three of the berries because they were molding. This wouldn’t be a big deal if the package had more than about 20 berries. Which it did not.
WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: I told her it was Pre-Birth Salad and she gave the look of nostalgia and “Aww.”
WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Absolutely. It’s a great versatile salad that accommodates a variety of fruits (mango or pineapple, maybe), crumbled soft cheese (like coat) and whatever else you want to toss in.
Berry-Chicken Salad (or Pre-Birth Salad)
By Jared Paventi
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- Goya Adobo seasoning
- 8 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- 4 to 6 oz. mixed greens, washed
- 8 oz. strawberries, cleaned, hulled and halved
- 3 oz. blueberries, cleaned
- 2 oz. raspberries, cleaned
- 2 oz. blackberries, cleaned
- 1 tbsp. slivered almonds
- 2 tbsp. citrus-infused vinegar (I used Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar; a 1:1 mixture of freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice, and white wine vinegar whisked together will do)
- 1 tbsp. olive oil (I used F. Oliver’s Blood Orange-infused olive oil)
Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and Adobo until the seasoning is dissolved. Submerge the chicken and marinate at least 30 minutes but up to 4 hours.
Grill or broil chicken until cooked through. Let the cooked chicken cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Combine your greens, berries and almonds in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Set aside.
Chop the cold chicken into fork-sized pieces. Then, whisk your olive oil and citrus vinegar together until well combined. Add the chicken to the salad, pour the vinaigrette over the top of the salad and toss the salad until coated.