Plum Chicken Salad

From Mark Bittman’s new book, The Food Matters Cook Book: 500 Revolutionary Recipes For Better Living.

Makes 4 servings ; Time: 30 minutes with leftover cooked chicken

Note: Firm plums are perfect here, but chicken tastes good with almost any fruit, so if plums aren’t available, try peaches, apples, pears, berries, or even tropical fruit. You can vary the nuts too (check out the variation).

Ingredients:

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About 8 ounces fresh plums, pitted and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3/4 cup chopped almonds

Salt and black pepper

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried

1/4 cup olive oil

2 celery stalks, thinly sliced

1/2 red onion, chopped

8 ounces roasted or grilled boneless, skinless chicken, chopped or shredded (about 2 cups)

6 cups mixed greens (like mesclun), torn into bite-size pieces

Directions:

1. Toss the plums with the vinegar in a large salad bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.

2. Meanwhile, put the almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat and toast, shaking the pan frequently, until they are aromatic and beginning to darken, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

3. Sprinkle the plums with salt and pepper and add the oregano, oil, celery, onion, and chicken; toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. (The salad can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated for up to an hour.) To serve, divide the greens evenly among 4 plates and top each with some of the plum-chicken mixture, or add the greens to the salad bowl and toss everything together. Garnish with the toasted almonds.

Fig Chicken Salad: Substitute fresh figs, quartered, for the plums and use hazelnuts instead of almonds.

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