Chicken-cannellini bean salad with basil-sherry vinaigrette

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Basil-Sherry Vinaigrette adds elegance to a hearty dish of beans and chicken; served warm, this salad is a meal on its own. Simply add French bread.

2 teaspoons olive oil

12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 2-inch by ½-inch strips

½ red bell pepper, cut into 2-inch by ¼-inch strips

½ green bell pepper, cut into 2-inch by ¼-inch strips

One 19-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Basil-Sherry Vinaigrette

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons dry sherry

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced shallot

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil (do not substitute dried basil – if fresh is unavailable, substitute fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley)

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste

To complete the recipe

12 leaves Boston lettuce

Garnish (optional): freshly ground pepper, sprigs of fresh basil or Italian flat-leaf parsley

Heat the oil in a large nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes, or until it is lightly browned but not cooked through. Add the red and green peppers; continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are crisp-tender and the chicken is cooked through.

Meanwhile, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the beans and corn to the saute pan; stir gently until just warm. Stir in the parsley and vinaigrette. (Take care not to evaporate the vinaigrette.)

Arrange lettuce on four serving plates; top with a mound of the salad mixture.

Advance preparation

The vinaigrette will keep for 4 days in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator. To serve either chilled or at room temperature, the salad should be made the day it is to be served. Add the dressing just before serving.