New Orleans Cooking

By Barbara Huber

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Barbecued Chicken Salad with Corn, Avocado, and Creamy Poblano Dressing
Chris Granger

Barbecued Chicken Salad with Corn, Avocado, and Creamy Poblano Dressing

Makes 4 Servings
Prep Time: 45 Minutes

1 1/2 to 2 cups diced barbecued chicken meat, from leftovers or a store-bought roasted chicken
1 ripe avocado, diced
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed, or 1 ear of corn, grilled in the husk then shucked and cut from the cob
1/4 cup thinly sliced celery or celery hearts
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 head Bibb lettuce, broken into leaves, washed, and dried
Creamy Poblano Dressing (or quick ranch dressing)

Toss all ingredients except dressing in a salad bowl, then toss in the dressing or serve it on the side.

Feel free to also add red peppers, tomatoes, and cotija (an aged Mexican cheese) or any crumbly white cheese to the salad. This salad is also delicious with corn bread croutons. (Day-old corn bread actually works best, because it will be drier. If you use fresh, you can dry it out in a 350-degree oven for a few minutes.) Cut the corn bread into cubes, toss them with a little melted butter, and toast in a 350-degree oven until golden brown and crisp. Let them cool, and toss with the salad.

Grilling Corn
Grilled corn has a sweet, smoky flavor that's great on its own (eaten off the cob with butter and a squirt of lime) and in salads. You'll want to grill the corn in its husk, because this preserves moisture and imparts a distinctive sweet and "corny" flavor. Simply soak the ears in cold water for about 20 minutes. Place them directly on a medium-low grill or over pale gray coals, and cover. Grill for about 20 minutes, turning the cobs every 5 minutes to ensure even cooking. As with any cooked corn, you'll know it's done when the kernels are tender and release a milky liquid when pierced. Peel away the husk and silk and serve as you wish.

Roasting Peppers and Chilies
To roast fresh poblanos or other peppers or chilies, place them directly on the grill over a low flame on a gas range, or on a baking sheet under a broiler, and char until evenly blackened, turning as necessary. Transfer peppers to a bowl and cover with a hand towel for about 5 minutes to steam the peppers (this will make their skins easier to remove). Alternatively, you can steam the peppers in a sealed plastic bag. Use your paring knife and/or your fingers to remove the stem, seeds, and skin from the peppers and use the smoky flesh as directed in the recipe.


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