Life in a Northern Town

Summer Strawberry, Chicken & Avocado Salad

Strawberry season in Bayfield is over but it was fun while it lasted. We ate strawberries all day long— smoothies, shortcakes, layered between angel food cake, on waffles and in salads. It was utter strawberry madness at the Dougherty's for two weeks in June. Bayfield is the perfect place to live if you like berries— strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are plentiful and my kids gobble them up with abandon.

Salads are a good idea when it is 150 degrees outside and you live in a 100-year-old home without air conditioning. Ted rounded up a couple window units a few weeks ago and now my dinner repertoire includes judicious use of the oven. However, when the house was a sauna, we ate a lot of salads and grilled outside.

Don't you love it when you go to the grocery store and find perfectly ripe avocados? This salad was the fortuitous result of ripe avocados from Andy's, a surplus of strawberries in the fridge and my new favorite spice, Tajin. My friend, Kathy, turned me onto Tajin (a lime and chile salt from Mexico) this spring. She used it in her jalapeño margarita (also known as the Kaboom Margarita at Good Thyme) and I was smitten at first taste. In homage to Kathy's margaritas, I marinated the chicken in tequila, lime and Tajin— it was a seriously good idea.

 Summer Salad with Strawberries, Chicken and Avocado

Marinade

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 cup tequila

1/4 cup olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

4 tbsp Tajin Classico Seasoning

Salad

8 chicken thighs, skin on and bone in

2 avocados, sliced

2 cups strawberries, sliced

1/2 red onion, sliced

1/2 cup feta (can substitute quesco fresco), crumbled

6 cups romaine, chopped

Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup cilantro, chopped

2 tsp Tajin Classico Seasoning

1/4 orange juice

1/2 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed

3/4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Mix together all ingredients in the marinade, place in a non reactive bowl, add chicken and marinate, refrigerated, for 4 - 6 hours. Prepare the grill and remove the chicken breasts from the marinade. Grill the thighs skin-side down for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove from the grill to a plate. Cover tightly and allow to rest while you prepare the salad.

Place all salad dressing ingredients, except olive oil, in a food processor or blender and combine. Slowly add olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Taste and add salt and pepper, if necessary.

After the chicken has rested, remove the meat from the bones and set aside. Place romaine, strawberries, avocado, chicken and feta in a large bowl, add salad dressing, toss to combine and serve.