Sometimes a simple salad is all it takes to make you remember how awesome food can be. This is that salad.

The dressing is the star of this dish, bright and lemony, yet sultry with a hint of garlic. It makes everything in the dish sing. The smoked chicken turns this from a side to perfect summer lunch. Make it even more perfect with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

Serves 4 for a light lunch. 1 hour to prepare end to end, much of it downtime.


Mise en Place
STAPLES PRODUCE
2 tbs capers, roughly chopped 1 clove garlic, microplaned
1/2 cup smoked salted almonds, roughly chopped 1/2 lemon juiced
4 oz pecorino, shaved 1 lemon zested
salt & pepper for chicken 2 tbs shallots, minced
3/4 tsp black pepper 2 yellow squash, cut into batons
1/2 tsp kosher salt 2 green zucchini, cut into batons
2 tsp caper brine 2 tbs parsley, minced
4 tbs olive oil 1/4 cup basil, torn
MEATS
1 large boneless chicken breast

Equipment
1 pellet smoker, @ 225
5 bowls

Directions
Step Action
1 season chicken generously
2 bring smoker up to temp
3 start cooking chicken, smoke for 30 minutes
4 meanwhile, cut zucchini and squash into 1/4″ batons that are 1 1/2″ long
5 deposit zucchini and squash in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and stash in fridge
6 in another bowl, make dressing by combining oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, shallots, parsley, capers, caper brine, salt, and pepper
7 cover dressing with plastic wrap and stash in fridge
8 prep rest of ingredients, shave pecorino and stash in fridge, chop almonds and stash on counter
9 after 30 minutes, increase heat of pellet smoker to 350 and cook chicken to 155 (carryover heat will make it safe)
10 evac chicken and let rest 10 minutes
11 cut chicken into 1 1/2″ hunks, then shred the hunks into bite size pieces with two forks, set aside and let cool 10 minutes
12 in big bowl, combine zucchini mix, cheese, almonds, chicken.
13 Tear in basil leaves and add to bowl
14 Add dressing and toss to combine
15 Serve and eat immediately

Tips:

Cut the ends of the zucchini and then cut into 1 1/2″ pieces. Lay those with one cut side down. You can then easily cut them into batons.

You can make all of this ahead, but the dressing is very acidic so don’t combine it all until you are ready to serve. The basil should also wait till the end so it doesn’t turn brown on you.


Shout Out:

Derived from a NYT Cooking recipe. If you are not already a member of their site, I highly recommend joining