Grilled-Chicken-and-Asparagus Salad with Parsley Pesto
- SERVINGS: 4
Parsley, garlic, lemon juice, and oil—that's all it takes to make an outstanding dressing. The secret is in using a lot of parsley. You'll be surprised how flavorful it is.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3)
- 1/3 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- Fresh-ground black pepper
- 1 pound asparagus, tough ends snapped off and discarded
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 cups loosely packed parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 heads Bibb lettuce (about 1 1/2 pounds in all), torn into bite size pieces (about 4 1/2 quarts)
- Light the grill or heat the broiler. Coat the chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Grill or broil the chicken for 5 minutes. Turn and cook until just done, about 5 minutes more. When the chicken breasts are cool enough to handle, cut them into bite-size pieces.
- Toss the asparagus spears with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil and 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Grill or broil the asparagus, turning occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes, depending on the width of the spears. Cut the spears into 2-inch lengths.
- In a blender, combine the garlic, water, parsley, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the remaining 1/3 cup oil. Puree until smooth, scraping down the side of the blender with a spatula as necessary.
- In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, toss the lettuce, chicken, and asparagus with half the vinaigrette. Put the salad on plates. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the salads.
Asparagus can be hard to pair with wine, but Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand handle the vegetable well, partly because they taste a bit like asparagus themselves. In addition, they are crisp enough to stand up to the vinaigrette.