While I unfortunately did not have the "crusty/chewy slice of bread" I'd so anticipated to go with this salad, I thoroughly enjoyed the salad itself, none-the-less.
This isn't so much a specific recipe post as it is a post about method. Pick your base, add your toppings, and wrap it all together with your favorite bottled or homemade dressing.
The days of the boring iceberg lettuce salad have long been put behind me. I now enjoy a variety of greens, topped with any number of tasty and (usually) healthy ingredients. Romaine lettuce is now my "regular" go-to salad base, but I also enjoy bib lettuce, arugula, and spring mix, which is a mixture of greens that offers various textures and tastes... sweet, spicy, peppery, etc. Today's salad however, was based upon my most favorite green of all, spinach. Baby spinach, to be exact. If you think you don't like spinach, you were probably force-fed the nasty canned kind as a child and have absolutely no idea what fresh spinach tastes like. Give it another try; you won't be disappointed.
When I serve a salad as a meal-within-itself, I usually try to find a way to incorporate a lean protein into the mix. Today it was boneless, skinless chicken breast. I marinated the breast for a few hours in some light balsamic vinaigrette dressing (Newman's Own, to be exact) then seasoned it with today's choice of spice (Northwoods Seasoning by http://www.penzeys.com/ ) and then sauteed it in just a little bit of olive oil. The bed of spinach leaves was topped with an ounce or so of blue cheese, a handful of dried cranberries, and a sprinkling of pecans. The chicken breast then stepped onto center stage where it and its surrounding cast was lightly sprinkled with more of Newman's Own Balsamic Vinaigrette.
How could this production be rewritten to suit your own tastes you ask? The supporting cast can be changed in the blink of an eye. The role of cranberries could be played by sliced strawberries, or perhaps a Granny Smith apple would enjoy the understudy time. Walnuts easily sub for pecans. If blue cheese is too strong of a character for you, tone it down with some crumbled goat cheese.... or feta. Don't like balsamic vinaigrette? Italian dressing perhaps? Or your own oil and vinegar creation?
The point is... salads can be eaten every single day without achieving the disdain of monotony, if you break way from the iceberg lettuce/plain grilled chicken breast mentality. Change it up!
15 minutes ago