I have a thing for Buttermilk Fried Chicken and I love salad. So, this Buttermilk Fried Chicken Salad is the best combination for both of my favorite things. This salad is topped with simple salad ingredients such as cucumbers, shredded cheddar cheese, grape tomatoes, and buttery and sweet Cornbread Croutons.
I am a sucker for a good salad. In fact, it is typically around this time of year where I crave salads the most. I think it’s because the weather is changing, it’s getting warmer, and spring produce is becoming more vibrant and delicious. I tend to crave salads more. I love everything in a salad starting from the cold crisp lettuce, to the crunchy and fresh tasting cucumbers, and whatever else I decide to put on my salad at that time. They are great for side dishes or as an entire meal.
I also love Buttermilk Fried Chicken. I don’t eat it that often but when I do, I’m in heaven (if it’s cooked right). I don’t eat everyone’s Fried Chicken, which is why I typically prefer my recipe. With these two loves, Fried Chicken and salad, it only makes sense that I combine two and make a hearty and satisfying salad that I can enjoy as a complete meal.
What’s in Fried Chicken Salad
First, let’s not confuse this Buttermilk Fried Chicken Salad with the Waldorf Chicken Salad, which typically contains pecans or walnuts, apple chunks, grapes, chicken, and celery. I have a recipe like that on my blog if you’re wondering. But in the case of this salad, I decided to stick to the basic topping that you typically find on a salad. You know what I mean, cheddar cheese, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, hard-boiled eggs, and croutons. All of the ingredients together with bite-sized pieces of Fried Chicken are delicious.
Let’s talk about these croutons for a second.
A few months back, I had lunch with my husband at a southern comfort food-type restaurant downtown Cincinnati called “The Eagle”. That restaurant is the only restaurant where I place their Fried Chicken over mine. It is absolutely delicious. With the main dish I ordered, I asked for their side salad. It was a kale salad with some nuts, sliced Granny Smith Apple, and some other stuff. What I couldn’t help but notice were the croutons. They served cornbread croutons on top of their salad and I thought that was so clever and never considered the concept. I knew I was going to have to try cornbread croutons and put it on something someday. This salad was the perfect opportunity.
Making cornbread croutons is the same concept as making normal and simple bread croutons. You start off with some stale bread, cut them into cubes, toss them in some melted butter, and toast them in the oven until they are hard on the outside but still a little soft and chewy on the inside. These are perfect because they still give you the crunch that you want in a crouton but they are slightly sweet as well. They are perfect with this salad!
When it comes to dressing, I am going to leave you to your own preference, but I will say that Panera’s at Home dressing collection has a delicious Buttermilk dressing that will go well with this salad. It is creamy, slightly, tangy, and is a great dressing option that brings this entire salad together. Between the ingredients, the chicken, cornbread croutons, and dressing, this is a perfect salad to start the spring.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken Salad with Cornbread Croutons
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Enjoy this Buttermilk Fried Chicken Salad that is filled with cucumbers, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, and Homemade Cornbread Croutons. Enjoy your choice of dressing or classic Buttermilk Ranch Dressing.
4 Boneless Chicken Thighs, cut into chunks
2 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Black Pepper
2 c. Buttermilk
1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. Black pepper
1 tsp. Seasoned salt
Dash of Hot Sauce
Canola Oil for frying
5 oz. Bag Spring Salad mix, divided
1 c. sharp shredded cheese, divided
½ c. cherry tomatoes, cut in half and divided
4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
½ cucumber, sliced
½ c. cooked bacon bits (optional)
3 c. Stale Cornbread, cut into cubes
3 tbsp. Melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.
Place the cubed cornbread in a medium-sized bowl. Pour the melted butter over the cubed cornbread and toss to evenly coat the cornbread.
Place evenly across a large baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Cornbread should be hardened on the outside Allow to cool at room temperature. Set aside.
To make the fried chicken, season the chicken with salt and pepper evenly. Place in a large bowl and pour the buttermilk over the chicken. Keep at room temperature for 30 minutes, You can leave in the refrigerator overnight and set out at room temperature 30 minutes prior to cooking.
Place the flour in a shallow dish and add the black pepper and seasoned salt and whisk. Add the canola oil to a deep-fry or a heavy-duty skillet and warm to 350 degrees.
Take some of the chicken chunks from the buttermilk and dredge through the flour and shake off the excess. Place in the deep fryer and cook for about 7-10 minutes. Just until golden brown. Remove from hot oil with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with a paper towel. Immediately after removing from the oil, sprinkle with another pinch of salt.
To make the salads, divide the salad mix between two shallow bowls, equally divide the cheddar cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, hard boil eggs, bacon, croutons (as much or as little as you want), and cooked chicken. Top off the salads with Panera Bread Buttermilk Dressing or your choice of dressing and serve.
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