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Chef’s recipe adds twist to diet staple

Chefs shared 92 tips and more than 50 recipes with author Allison Adato for “Smart Chefs Stay Slim.”

The book was released in paperback just in time for anyone tempted to implement any draconian dietary restrictions for 2013. From “eat what you love” to “cook with your kids,” Adato gathered wisdom from famous chefs including Thomas Keller, the first American chef to hold three Michelin stars at two restaurants, Per Se in New York City and the French Laundry in Yountville, Calif.; Nancy Silverton, head baker and co-owner of La Brea Bakery and chef and co-owner of Pizzaria Mozza and Osteria Mozza; and Rick Bayless, chef-owner of the Frontera restaurant group in Chicago and winner of six James Beard honors.

There’s a Who’s Who guide to the wise chefs in the first few pages of the book.

Here’s a recipe that Bayless shared for the book:

Rick Bayless’ Grilled Chicken Salad with Rustic Guacamole

“This simple dish uses chilies, lime and cilantro to transcend the dieter’s staple of salad and chicken. And it’s dead easy: You make a batch of the sauce, then use a third of it to marinate the chicken, a third of it to dress the salad. Remarkably, this repeated usage doesn’t taste like sameness, but like different notes in close harmony. While I am generally a proponent of forging ahead with a recipe even when you don’t have every last ingredient, I urge you not to leave off the sprinkling of aged cheese – those sorts of small additions add flavor and satisfaction.”

For the dressing:

1/2 cup vegetable or olive oil, plus a little more for the onion

4 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half lengthwise

Fresh hot green chilies, to taste (Rick likes 2 serranos or 1 large jalapeno), stemmed and halved

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

3/4 cup loosely packed, roughly chopped cilantro

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Salt to taste

For the salad:

4 medium (about 1 1/4 pounds total) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1 medium white onion, cut into 1/2-inch slices

2 ripe avocados

Romaine hearts, sliced crosswise at 1/2-inch thick (about 8 cups)

About 1/3 cup grated Mexican queso anejo or pecorino Romano or parmesan

Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and chilies and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is soft and lightly browned, about 1 to 2 minutes. Place the oil, garlic and chilies into a blender or food processor. Add the lime juice, cilantro and 1 scant teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Process until smooth. Pour 1/3 of the garlic mixture over chicken breasts, spreading it evenly over all sides.

Heat a gas grill or grill pan over medium to medium-high (or start a charcoal fire and let it burn until the coals are medium-hot and covered with white ash). Lightly brush or spray the onion slices with oil; sprinkle both sides with slat. Lay the chicken and onion on the grill or grill pan. Cook until the chicken is just cooked through and the onion is well browned, 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

Chop the onion into small pieces and place into a small bowl. Pit and peel the avocados, scooping the flesh, and add to the bowl with the onion. Add another 1/3 of the garlic mixture, then coarsely mash everything together with an old-fashioned potato masher, large fork or back of spoon. Taste and season with salt, usually with about 1/2 teaspoon.

Place the sliced romaine into a large bowl. Drizzle on the remaining 1/3 of the garlic mixture and toss to combine. Divide among 4 dinner plates. Scoop a portion of the guacamole into the center of each plate. Cut each breast into cubes and arrange over the guacamole. Sprinkle each plate with grated cheese. Serve.

Yield: 4 servings.


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