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Cooking with JoJo: It’s never too cold for a warm salad

Joey Morasse • Jan 30, 2018 at 10:28 PM

It’s the end of another busy week, and you have no idea what to cook for dinner. With the hustle and bustle of life, some of the dinner choices we make can be lacking in nutritious and necessary vegetables. 

If you’re like me, you’re tired at the end of the day and either don’t have the time or the will to shop. This was the case for this recipe. 

Opening the fridge and scratching my head, I saw a potpourri of things that at first glance didn’t have a place together. With a mix of random veggies and leftover baked chicken and a package of mushrooms, I saw the makings of a salad. But with the cooler temperatures, I wanted something hot. 

For this recipe, I sautéed the veggies, along with a bit of red wine vinegar, topped with the warmed through sliced chicken and finished with a drizzle of smoked balsamic. Not only did I have a warm and filling meal, but also a healthy one at that.

What you’ll need:

• ½ head of lettuce, chopped.

• 8 ounces golden oak shitake mushrooms, sliced.

• 2 red bell peppers, sliced into thin strips.

• 1 carrot, thinly sliced.

• 6 ounces baked or sautéed chicken, sliced.

• 5-8 ounces baby arugula.

• 3 tsp. red wine vinegar.

• 3 tsp. smoked balsamic vinegar.

• 1 tsp. salt.

• 1 tsp. black pepper.

In a skillet on medium heat, add in sliced red peppers and a touch of olive oil and cook until tender. Add in mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper and let cook until they are golden brown. 

Add in the arugula and stir, allowing it to wither and blend with the peppers and mushrooms. Around the edge of the pan, add the red wine vinegar. It will be a bit harsh at first, but as it cooks for about five minutes, it will sweeten and bring more flavor out of the veggies.  

Once done, remove from pan, and set it aside. Add in sliced chicken to the pan with the remaining salt and pepper until warm. Place the chopped lettuce and carrots centered on a plate. This will be the only raw and cold part of the salad that will slowly warm up with the cooked veggies and chicken on top. 

Blend together a ½ teaspoon of liquid smoke with 12 ounces of balsamic vinegar. Mix well and drizzle over the warm salad. This adds an amazing and complex flavor that takes a really good salad to an amazing meal. Enjoy.

Here’s an added tip. Put entire bottle of balsamic into a pot and reduce by half on medium-high heat. As it evaporates, it sweetens and thickens into an amazing syrup-like consistency that goes well, not only on salads and other veggies, but also on fruits like strawberries and even watermelon.

Cooking since he could pull a chair up to the stove at 5 years old, Joey Morasse, of Lebanon, is the owner and operator of JoJo’s Barbecue and Catering. He is also a personal chef and offers in-home cooking classes.

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