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Spice-roasted Butternut, Chicken and Goat Cheese Salad

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Summer time. Let’s be honest; it’s brutal. The boys dropping toys every other minute. The girls running up and down stairs from hot tub to aft deck. Regardless of position, the heat will affect you. The last thing anyone wants when there is still a lot of sunlight to go (and an immense amount of work) is to sit down for lunch, overeat on some heavy chow and be a lethargic lump for the rest of the day.

Lo’ and behold … the refreshing lunch.

There is not much I can say about this dish other than the crew and I love eating it. It’s quick and easy, both to make and to eat. It’s light enough to not slow you down and there is enough protein to keep you going for the rest of the day.

Off charter, I recommend pairing this salad with a dry rose. Enjoy, pirates.

Feeds 10-12, depending on portion size.

Spice-roasted Butternut, Chicken and Goat Cheese Salad

Ingredients:

  • 12 chicken breasts
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
  • 2 Tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 5 Tbsp sweet chili sauce
  • 4 Tbsp Kecap Manis
  • 2 butternut squash, peeled and cut in half-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 4 Tbsp cumin powder
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp Old Bay spice
  • 2 cups goat cheese, crumbled
  • 3 heads butter lettuce
  • 5 oz. arugula
  • 4 avocados, cubed and tossed with lemon juice
  • 4 handfuls cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cucumbers, sliced
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

In a large mixing bowl, add chicken breasts, olive oil, thyme, garlic, cayenne, lemon juice and zest, sweet chili and Kecap Manis. Mix thoroughly with your hands, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. (I usually do this the day before and let marinade in the fridge over night.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Spice-roasted Butternut, Chicken and Goat Cheese Salad by Chef Mark Godbeer

Spice-roasted Butternut, Chicken and Goat Cheese Salad by Chef Mark Godbeer

In another mixing bowl add the squash, melted butter, cumin, garlic powder and Old Bay. Mix to incorporate the spices and evenly coat the squash.

Place the squash on an oven tray, salt and pepper evenly and bake for at least 20 minutes or until the edges begin to crisp and the squash is soft to the touch. Remove and allow to cool.

Set a heavy bottomed pan on the stove to medium-high. Place four chicken breasts at a time (top with salt and pepper) and sauté until both sides are golden brown. Repeat with all breasts, placing sautéed breasts on an oven tray.

Bake chicken in the oven set at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Allow to cool on baking sheet.

Slice chicken and place in a bowl. Pour cooking juices over and mix.

Once all ingredients are cool, combine in a large bowl the arugula, cucumber, onion, avocado, tomatoes, goat cheese, squash, chicken, orange juice and balsamic. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix all the ingredients together.

Arrange 10-12 plates on a work surface and evenly distribute the butter lettuce on each plate. Top with desired amount of squash and chicken mixture.

Serve immediately and enjoy.

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