Carino's Italian is a United States-based chain of Italian food casual dining restaurants. It has more than 170 restaurants with branches in about 30 states. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, the concept is owned by Fired Up, Inc., which was founded in 1997 by partners and former Brinker International executives Norman Abdallah and Creed Ford. Prior to 2006, restaurants were called Johnny Carino's Country Italian, Johnny Carino's Italian then changed to Carino's Italian Grill.

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Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad


Fresh spinach, Gorgonzola, Roma tomatoes, smoked bacon, red onions and crispy onion straws. Served with warm bacon vinaigrette

Serves 4

Chicken
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon paprika
 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil


Salad
8 cups spinach
4 ounces Gorgonzola  cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup diced Roma tomatoes
4 slices of cooked bacon



Salad Dressing
9 ounces thick-sliced smoked bacon, small dice
1 medium shallot, minced
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt
freshly ground black pepper


To make the Chicken:  Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare chicken breasts by cutting them in half and pounding them out. Whisk the egg whites, cornstarch, and lemon juice in a shallow dish.  In another shallow dish mix together pecans, oregano, thyme, paprika, and cayenne. Dip the chicken into the egg white mixture and then into the pecan mixture. While the chicken is resting, heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat; coat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add chicken and saute until brown on both sides. Place chicken in baking dish and roast until an instant read thermometer inserted into the chicken reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Take chicken out and make dressing while it rests.
 
To make the Dressing:  Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy, about 4 minutes. Remove the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate and set aside. Discard all but 3 tablespoons of the fat.  Place the pan with the remaining bacon fat over medium heat, add the shallot, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk in the vinegar, brown sugar, and Dijon mustard; remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.

To make the Salad:  Toss the dressing with the mixed greens. Toss in cheese, tomatoes and red onion. Arrange greens on 4 plates. Slice chicken. Arrange chicken on top of greens, sprinkle with any remaining crumbs from the pan and crumbled bacon. Serve with extra dressing on the side

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