No exaggeration: This roasted chicken breast with green grapes fresh salad is deliciously healthy ingredients with cranberries, walnuts, feta cheese, a shallot onion, fresh baby spinach and a simple but lovely white balsamic vinaigrette.
Serve it in a lovely salad bowl and watch everyone dig in.
The salad starts with a chicken breast that is split; skin left on; breast bone left in; fresh rosemary sprigs tucked under the skin; and then roasted on sheet pan.
The roasted chicken is nicely cubed and the seedless green grapes are pulled off its stem.
Even the supporting "actor" ingredients are delicious enough to eat alone!
Ingredients for the Roasted Chicken Salad
- 1 large raw chicken breast, split with skin left on and breast bone left in
- 4 whole rosemary sprigs
- 8 ounces of loose seedless green grapes
- 3 ounces roughly chopped walnuts (2 Tablespoons set aside for garnish)
- 4 ounces feta cheese, brick style then cut into small squares (optional substitution: crumbled feta cheese)
- 3 ounces dried cranberries, preferably sugared
- 1 shallot onion, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
- 6 ounces baby spinach, washed and patted dry
- Salt to taste
- Cracked white pepper (or black) to taste
- 4-6 Tablespoons white balsamic vinaigrette, or to taste (see below for ingredients and preparation)
Preparation for chicken salad
Preheat oven 375 degrees
Wash chicken breast and pat dry. Place two rosemary sprigs under the skin of each chicken breast. Season both sides of the breast with salt and pepper. Place breast with skin side up on a cookie sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until chicken meat next to the bone is no longer pink. You can check for doneness by turning the breast with the bone side up and gently slit the meat alongside the bone.
While the chicken breasts are roasting, prepare the remaining ingredients as noted in the ingredients list. Add all ingredients, except the grapes, to a large bowl.
When the breasts are done, remove them from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Then remove the rosemary, cut away the skin and breast bones. Cut chicken meat into cubes. Add chicken breasts and grapes to the salad. Pour in the white balsamic vinaigrette and gently toss salad.
White Balsamic Vinaigrette
If you're not familiar with white balsamic vinegar here's a few things to note. It's sweet, has a clean aftertaste and is versatile in application from salads to chicken to cheeses (particularly blue cheese) to even bison. Price can range from a few dollars to as much as $1000. Of course price is influenced by its aging process and resulting quality.
True white balsamic vinegar is produced by only two consortium in Italy, Modena and Reggio Emilia. Cheaper varieties are made in surrounding areas by cannot carry the authentic processing method designation. White balsamic vinegar is made using a process of reduction (long hours of heating) of pressed Trebbiano grapes and then aged in wooden barrels, similar to the process of making wine. The aging process occurs from 3 years to as long as 25 years which of course distinguishes the quality and the taste. To learn more about balsamic vinegar both the red and white, check out What's The Deal With: White Balsamic Vinegar? at The Kitchn.com and Balsamic Vinegar on Wikipedia.
What to look for. White balsamic vinegar, what is most frequently found in U.S. grocery stores, is blended with white wine vinegar.
I was able to find a reasonably priced bottle of white balsamic vinegar produced in Modena, Italy for Batistini Farms, carried at Whole Foods Store. It has 12 grams of natural sugar per tablespoon, naturally occurring sulfites, and 5.4% acidity. It had zero additives and artificial non-GMO and was gluten free.
My other choice had less sugar, 4 grams per tablespoon (which I had preferred) but it had added sulfites. So just be sure to read the label to purchase which white balsamic fits your taste and health.
Vinaigrette Ingredients and preparation for this roasted chicken breasts and green grapes. Yields 1 cup
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Dash of salt (preferably sea or Kosher salt)
- Dash (or more) cracked white pepper corn (can substitute with black pepper corn)
- Dash of lemon juice (optional)
- Add a little honey is also optional, particularly if the white balsamic vinegar has a high sugar count per tablespoon.
Add all ingredients to a wide-mouth jar and shake until thoroughly mixed. Immediately pour 4-6 tablespoons onto salad and toss lightly. Add more vinaigrette if you wish.
Note: When making vinaigrette, it's best to make no more than you need or enough that you will use within a week or a few days, especially if you include fresh ingredients such as garlic or shallots or onions, etc. Store this left-over vinaigrette in the refrigerator. To reduce the amount of vinaigrette called for in this recipe, whatever measurement you choose use a ratio of 3x oil to 1x white balsamic vinegar.