Spicy Chicken and Baby Romaine Salad, with Warm Chipotle Vinaigrette

Salad Platter

Salad Platter

By Cat, Aug 2007 (Photo, right, attributed to “Fir0002/Flagstaffotos” on Wikimedia Commons; photo, below, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also: 1. Salad Menu; 2. Poultry & Fowl Menu

I have not yet tried this recipe, but it promises to be delicious. I’m just learning to use the spicy chiles, which can be difficult where I live in NW Montana, as they are difficult to find fresh. I generally do not use canned foods because of the problems associated with the lead solder used to make the can, or the plastic lining used to protect the ingredients from the lead. 

Spicy Chicken and Baby Romaine Salad, with Warm Chipotle Vinaigrette

This recipe is adapted from the Fine Cooking recipe blog; original recipe by Tony Rosenfeld (1). Not tested.

I prefer to brine chicken breasts, as it helps them to retain moisture, and lightly salts them so you don’t need to add salt when cooking.

Chipotles en Adobo

Chipotles en Adobo

‘En adobo,’ according to Wikipedia (2), is “the immersion of raw food in a stock (or sauce) composed variously of paprika, oregano, salt, garlic, and vinegar to preserve and enhance its flavor.” Chipotle are smoked red jalapeños, a spicy pepper.

When prepared ‘en adobo,’ the chipotle is cooked with a lightly spiced thin tomato sauce. You can buy it ready made, or make your own. Most recipes make it from catsup, but commercial catsup is made with high fructose corn syrup. I prefer to use pureed tomatoes. See Chipotle en Adobo for my recipe (theoretical recipe at this point, as I’ve not tried it yet).

Cornmeal is an ingredient in the breading for the chicken. Unless cornmeal is labeled Organic, it is likely a GMO product. Organic cornmeal can be hard to find; as of this update (Nov 2014), Bob’s Red Mill’s cornmeal is not Organic (I’m hoping that will change in the future, as Bob’s Red Mill is generally a trustworthy brand).

The recipe also uses sweet corn cut from the cob; while a GMO version of sweet corn has been created, as of this update (Nov 2014), it is not commonly available. However, to be on the safe side, use Organic sweet corn.

Serves 4


Ingredients & Equipment:

  • Chicken:
  • 2 boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound or so), brined
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, lard or bacon fat, divided
  • 2 Tbsp unbleached white flour
  • 2 Tbsp Organic cornmeal, white is preferred
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Chipotle vinaigrette
  • 1 chipotle chile (from a can of chipotles en adobo, or see recipe), chopped
  • 2 Tbsp adobo sauce
  • 3 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained & chopped
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp Rapadura sugar (or light-brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp prepared Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Unrefined sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Salad
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked Organic fresh or frozen corn kernels (about 2 ears)
  • 6 oz baby romaine (about 8 loosely-packed cups)
  • 1/4 lb iceberg or romaine lettuce, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, divided
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 ripe avocado, 3/4″ dice)
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • Equipment
  • large bowl for brining
  • shallow dish for dredging
  • blender


  1. PrepBrine chicken 30 minutes (1/2 cup kosher salt in 1 quart water). Rinse and pat dry. Cut into 1″ thick strips
  2. Chipotle Vinaigrette: While chicken is in the brine, puree chipotle chile and adobo sauce in blender or food processor, with sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, sugar and mustard. While blender is running, slowly pour in 1/2 cup of the oil. transfer to measuring cup or jar, and season to taste.
  3. Chicken: Mix flour, cornmeal, chili powder and cumin in shallow dish. If you didn’t brine the chicken, salt strips lightly, then dredge in the flour mixture.
  4. Heat 2 Tbsp oil/fat in cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken strips (evenly spaced in pan) and saute 2 minutes each side, until cooked through. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Add remaining 1 Tbsp oil to pan and saute other half of strips in the same way. Remove to plate to drain.
  5. Salad: Discard fat from pan and wipe clean. Set over low heat, add vinaigrette, and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula, until warmed through, about 1 minute. Return vinaigrette to measuring cup or jar and whisk to recombine.
  6. Cook corn in a bit of water until just done. Slice onion into thin half-moons, and dice avocado.
  7. Gently toss greens and half the cilantro with half of the vinaigrette, or enough to lightly coat the leaves.
  8. Assemble & Serve: Distribute among four plates and top with chicken, onion, avocado, corn and remaining 1/4 cup cilantro. Drizzle with some of the remaining vinaigrette, and garnish with lime wedges on the side of each plate, for squeezing over the salads.


  1. Fine Cooking originally by Tony Rosenfeld (finecooking.com/recipes/baby-romaine-salad-spicy-chicken-warm-chipotle-vinaigrette.aspx)
  2. Wikipedia on Adobo: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobo

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