Strawberries are available year-round in California but the peak season is just approaching. As it gets closer and closer to April, the strawberries sold are becoming larger, reddier, juicier, and they even smell sweeter. To welcome one of my favorite fruits into the season, I’m recreating a great blackened chicken and strawberry salad I had at the Alcove. The Alcove is a local restaurant in Los Angeles that serves typical California cuisine with salads, sandwiches, and freshly baked goods. I’ve only been there once but after trying their salad, I can confidently say that I will be returning. Here is my take on their creation.
- 1 lb strawberries, halved
- 2 tsp sugar
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 chicken breasts
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp oil
- 8 cups spinach
- 8 ounces crumbled feta
- 1 lb strawberries, sliced
- 1 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a medium sauce pan. Heat over medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until strawberries have softened, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer strawberries to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain the mixture. Cool.
- Whisk together the pureed strawberries with balsamic vinegar. Slowly add olive oil, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Combine seasoning for chicken from paprika - onion powder. Liberally sprinkle seasoning mixture onto both sides of the chicken.
- Heat oil in saute pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sear on both sides, about 1 minute on each side. Transfer to a baking sheet. Finish cooking chicken in the oven until juices run clear, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes before slicing.
- Toss together spinach with feta, sliced strawberries, cranberries and salad dressing. Portion on four plates and top with sliced chicken. Serve.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
There are only a couple ingredients in this salad, but each one serves its purpose. You can substitute the chicken for salmon, shrimp, steak or even tofu and this salad will still be great.
For the vinaigrette, use fresh strawberries to really make them shine in the salad. The sweet strawberries with the tangy balsamic vinegar is a great combination, as is almost every fruit with balsamic vinegar!
Toss all the ingredients together and serve. I can have this salad every day and not get bored of it. The sweet cranberries with the slightly tart strawberries, creamy feta and savory chicken is heavenly. Fortunately, strawberries are available here in California so I can make this year-round!
Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.