Grilled Fennel / Chicken Salad
Recently I've been thinking of the joys of grilled fennel, so with another sunset beach picnic looming (we try to do one every other week) I picked up some fennel and some chicken breasts for the grill. This couldn't be easier, and it also couldn't be more typical of my cooking: some grilled stuff mixed with some leftovers and a surprise ingredient or two to make something new. This time the leftover component was a cup of my spicy cole slaw, and the surprise ingredient was green grapes. The result was very satisfying: the fennel flavor stood up to the spicy cole slaw and retained just enough crunch to add textural interest to the mixture, and the lime/red onion/ginger/toasted spices in the cole slaw gave the chicken salad a unique Asian twist, with the grapes adding a surprising note of sweet juiciness.
The evening on the beach with friends was beautiful and the gang gobbled this up in no time. Summer: I love it!
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 fennel bulb
15 green grapes, halved
1 cup spicy cole slaw
3 T basil, minced
salt, hot sauce to taste
Rinse, pat dry and spray the breasts with vegetable oil. Slice the fennel bulb in 1/4" vertical slices and spray with vegetable oil. Grill the chicken and fennel on a medium hot charcoal and hardwood fire about 10 minutes on a side. Off the grill, drizzle the fennel with basalmic vinegar and sprinkle with salt. Allow chicken and fennel to cool to room temperature.
Slice the chicken in thin slices and cut crosswise if the slices are more than 2" long. Slice the fennel on an angle across the grain. Mix all ingredients, season to taste. Keep cool until serving.
This makes an excellent sandwich filling with lettuce and a tomato slice, or can just be served as a salad on a bed of greens.