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Hoover's Picnic Salad With Honey-Mustard Dressing

Prep time 15 mins
Cook time 14 mins
Chill time 4 hrs

Makes 2 servings

The chicken marinates in as little as 4 hours, but it's best when started the night before. If you want to serve four, this recipe easily doubles, but you'll need to fry the chicken in 2 batches.


  • 2 skinned and boned chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 8 thick-cut bacon slices
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce, chopped
  • 2 cups seeded and cubed watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew melon
  • Honey-Mustard Dressing
  • Garnish: fresh basil sprigs

How to Make It

  1. Butterfly chicken breasts by making a lengthwise cut horizontally through breasts to within 1/2 inch of other side. Open breasts, and sprinkle evenly with sliced basil; place between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap. Flatten chicken to 1/2-inch thickness using a cast-iron skillet or meat mallet.

    Pounding Chicken
  2. Stir together mayonnaise, milk, garlic, 2 teaspoons pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt in a shallow dish; add chicken. Cover and chill at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

  3. Cook bacon slices in a large cast-iron skillet until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon, and set aside. Add oil to drippings in skillet, and heat to 350°, stirring and scraping to release browned bits from bottom of skillet.

  4. Combine flour, remaining 2 teaspoons black pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a shallow dish. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade. Scrape and discard excess marinade from chicken. Dredge chicken in flour mixture. Fry 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and chicken is done.

  5. Divide lettuce evenly between each of 2 serving plates. Top each with 1 cup melon, and drizzle with desired amount of Honey-Mustard Dressing. Cut chicken into thin slices, and place evenly on top of melon. Sprinkle with bacon, and garnish, if desired. Serve immediately.

Hoover's Cooking, Austin, Texas