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, redder, 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.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
There are only a couple of 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.
Start by making the vinaigrette. You can prepare this dressing several days in advance since it does require you to cook the strawberries first. I personally have never used frozen strawberries, but if you have had success using them, I would love to hear all about it!
If you want to mix it up, you also make a blackened chicken and peach version of this salad, preparing the salad dressing with peaches instead of berries. I can already taste the goodness!
For the chicken, do not be afraid of the spices. Season both sides of the chicken and sear it in a hot pan. The spices will form a crust on the chicken, thus the name, blackened chicken. Continue cooking in the oven until the juices run pink. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes then slice.
Toss all the ingredients together and serve. I can have this salad every day and never get bored of it. The combination of sweet cranberries and strawberries, creamy feta, earthy pecans, 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.