Friday, March 1, 2013

Agave-Mezcal Chicken and Curry Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Agave and mezcal chicken with curry roasted cauliflower

I've written before about how much I like Sweetgreen, the D.C-based fast casual salad chain. Their monthly rotating seasonal salads keep their menu fresh and provide a good way to explore something new. Their salad from December 2012 was particularly delicious, and I wanted to make a salad inspired by it.

For my salad, I omitted the quinoa (actually forgot about it) and added a Mexican flavor by glazing the chicken with the smoky mezcal and some agave nectar for sweetness (Sweetgreen's November salad featured agave-roasted turkey, which was similar to this). So this is definitely fusion cooking: a little Indian from the curry, a little Mexican, a little Italian, all melding together into quite a delicious combination of peppery, savory and sweet flavors.

Curry roasted cauliflower

Agave-Mezcal Chicken and Curry Roasted Cauliflower Salad
Inspired by Sweetgreen's December salad; Roasted Cauliflower adapted from A.O.C. restaurant's recipe that appeared in Bon Appetit

Serves 2-3 dinner portions

Roasted cauliflower:
1 1b. cauliflower florets (about 3 cups)
1 small sweet onion, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. paprika

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. chicken breast cutlets
Seasoned salt and fresh-ground black pepper
2 tsp. agave nectar
2 tbsp. mezcal
2 cups baby arugula, packed
1 cucumber, sliced
3 tbsp. coarsely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup dried cranberries

1. Roast the cauliflower: Preheat oven to 450 F with rack in middle position. Cut the cauliflower into small florets and place on a rimmed baking sheet along with the quartered onion. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, coriander, cumin, curry powder and paprika. Pour over cauliflower and onion and stir to coat. Roast in oven for 30 minutes, stirring after the first 15 minutes. Set aside on a wire rack to cool. Refrigerate to chill before using in salad.

2. Make the dressing: Whisk together the 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, basil, salt and pepper.

3. Cook the chicken: Add 2 tbsp. olive oil to a medium frying pan and heat over medium heat. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, season with seasoned salt and pepper and sauté until cooked through and browned, about 10 minutes, turning once halfway through. In a small bowl, whisk together the agave nectar and mezcal and pour over the chicken in the hot pan. Turn the chicken to coat with the liquid as it thickens. Remove glazed chicken from pan and allow to cool slightly before slicing into 1-inch chunks.

4. Assemble the salad: Toss the arugula and cucumber with the dressing. Divide into bowls. Top each bowl with about a cup of roasted cauliflower (there may be some left over), chicken, a generous sprinkle of cilantro and a large spoonful of dried cranberries.


  1. That cauliflower was delicious. And cranberries are always welcome in a salad (or any place else).

  2. Thanks dear! I've really been into cauliflower lately. Roasting it really brings out a great flavor.