As the weather gets warmer, I am naturally drawn more and more to suppers that are not so much cooked as assembled. Composed salads are nice for this, as they allow plenty of range for imaginative combinations of ingredients, and have a little bit more gravitas as a main dish than a simple tossed salad does. I made this one with some leftover "vegan popcorn chicken" from Whole Foods -- sort of a shameful thing to buy, and place to buy it, but it sure is good, and the salad I made from it was really, really good. If you eat real meat, leftover roast chicken would of course work perfectly in the same kind of composition.
This dinner also reminded me to tell you that I always buy my avocados in a state of rock-hard unripeness. They will ripen just fine on your counter, and no one but you will have a chance to prod and poke and bother and bruise them as they get riper and more vulnerable. (Once they're ripe, you can move them to the fridge if they are ready too soon for you.) I think Mark Bittman wrote a "Bitten" entry about his same realization, so this is no doubt old news to you, but this habit has made my avocado eating adventures infinitely more pleasant and consistent, so I want to proselytize.
Bottom layer: a ring of delicate tender pale green lettuce, surrounding chiffonaded radicchio
On top of that: "chicken"
Then: sliced avocado
And: red onion that had been chopped and left to sit for about half an hour with vinegar and a pinch of salt
Topped with: Cilantro and serrano pepper minced together
Drizzled with: Olive oil and vinegar (the vinegar from the onion isn't enough -- you want plenty of acidic sparkle)
Plus: A sprinkling of salt and some coarsely ground black pepper.
Radicchio adds a nice bitter bite that complements the richness of the avocado and the acid of the vinegar, though I'm sure the salad would still be good without it. Chopped endive would be a good (if less colorful) substitute. If you reheat your chicken or "chicken", heap it in the center of the plate so it rests on the radicchio, wilting it slightly.