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Salad Season

August 24, 1995|MARIE SIMMONS

During summer, my salad spinner gets a workout. Throughout the season, I enjoy using the mixture of greens and baby lettuces, called mesclun, which appear in my farmers' market several times a week. Four big handfuls weigh less than 8 ounces and can form the base of a summer supper.

I always refresh my salad greens in cold water, even if they've been washed. You do this by filling a salad spinner (with the strainer in place) with cool water and plunging the greens into the water. Never run water over greens because it will bruise them. Lift the strainer from the water, discard the water, place the strainer back into the bowl and spin the greens dry for about 3 seconds.

CHICKEN CUTLET SALAD

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stems

1 clove garlic, crushed

4 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets

Salt, freshly ground black pepper

1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted and peeled, cut into thin crosswise slices

1 medium tomato, cored, halved and cut into thin half slices

1/2 sweet onion (Vidalia, Texas Sweet, Walla Walla or other), slivered

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

8 loosely packed cups mixed tender salad greens

Place 1 tablespoon olive oil, thyme and garlic on plate. Add chicken cutlets and turn to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat large non-stick skillet over high heat until hot enough to evaporate 1 drop of water upon contact. Add chicken and cook until well browned, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook other side until chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes more. Remove to side dish.

Meanwhile, combine avocado slices, tomato slices and onion slivers in bowl. Add 1 tablespoon lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat. Set aside.

Place remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon cold water and remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice in bowl. Add dash of salt and whisk to blend. Add salad greens and toss to coat.

Distribute greens among 4 large dinner plates. Place avocado mixture in center, dividing evenly. Top each with chicken cutlet. Serve at once.

Makes 4 servings.

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