Tgi Friday's Pecan Chicken Salad by Todd Wilbur
- We'll make the pecan-crusted chicken first since it is served cold. Pound each chicken fillet to about 1/2-inch thick. You can do this easily by covering each chicken breast in plastic wrap, and pounding away with a kitchen mallet. Combine 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, bread crumbs, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl combine milk with beaten eggs. Dump the flour into another shallow bowl. Bread each chicken breast by coating each with with flour. Dip the flour-dusted chicken into the egg mixture, and then coat the chicken with a thick coating of the pecans and bread crumbs. Pre-heat 1/2 cup of canola oil in a large skillet over medium/low heat. When the oil is hot, sauté the chicken fillets for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until golden brown. Cool chicken on a rack or paper towels. When you can handle the chicken, cover it and refrigerate for at least two hours.
- As the chicken chills, you can make the balsamic vinaigrette by combining 1 cup canola oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender. Blend on low speed for just a few seconds, or until the dressing begins to thicken. Don't blend too long or your vinaigrette will get too thick, like mayo. Pour vinaigrette into a small bowl and mix in minced garlic. Chill this until you're ready to use it.
- When you're ready to build your salads, toss lettuce and celery with about 3/4 cup of the balsamic vinaigrette.
- Arrange the lettuce on four plates, then sprinkle the cranberries over the lettuce (about 1/4 cup per serving).
- Combine the 3 tablespoons of brown sugar with 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of this mixture on each salad.
- Sprinkle about 1/2 can of drained mandarin segments over each salad, followed by about 2 tablespoons of crumbled bleu cheese.
- Sliced each chicken fillets into thin strips. Arrange one sliced chicken fillet on top of each salad and serve.