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Kitchen Story: Salad. Salad. Salad. (It starts to look funny by the third time)

March 22, 2011

Salad is just not something I think of often when I’m coming up with ideas for Sunday dinner.  Don’t get me wrong, I love salads, with the exception of spinach salads with strawberries.  Don’t know why.  Just can’t even think about that combination without holding back the urge to gag.  I love the classic Wedge…a hunk o’ iceberg lettuce, with maybe a tomato, slathered with blue cheese dressing.  What’s not to like, right?  A Greek salad makes me very happy, with salty feta and a dressing with enough vinegar to bring tears to my eyes.  Delicious!  I also like “dinner” salads, like Cobb, Chef’s, and Caesar’s.  But when I’m thinking about making Sunday dinner, I don’t readily think of a salad except as a side dish or starter. So there I was, paging through The Silver Palate Cookbook, a tome I love so much that I have been thinking of cooking all the way through it, a la Julie & Julia, and I came across their recipe for Mediterranean Chicken Salad.  It starts with lots of chicken stock ingredients and then cooking the breasts in the stock.  I just wasn’t feeling up to the whole process, so I decided to shortcut that step and get a roasted chicken and then pick up the recipe from there.  But on the way back from the grocery store, I realized I had forgotten the green beans; kinda important for the end result.  So when I was picking those up from yet another store, I was thinking about a Salad Nicoise and one of the things I love about it is the little potatoes.  So I grabbed some baby white potatoes.  From the original recipe, the following was the result.  It’s flavorful, a little decadent, filled with some things that are good for you.  The briny capers and olives counterpoint the smooth potatoes and the moist chicken.  Salad may look funny if you write it enough…and it certainly sounds funny on the ear when you say it out loud several times (go ahead…I’ll wait), but I will think of salads more in the Sunday Dinner spotlight now.

Mediterranean Chicken Salad

Adapted from recipe of the same name in The Silver Palate Cookbook by Rosso and Lukins

6 servings

1 purchased roasted chicken*

1/2 cup good quality olive oil

1 ½ teaspoon oregano

½ lb green beans

4-5 small white potatoes

½ teaspoon capers, drained

¾ cup black briny olives, like nicoise

8-12 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

salt and pepper

*You could cook your own chicken breasts if you wanted, or use any leftover chicken you have on hand.  If you just use breasts, it will probably take three of them.  I LOVE the convenience and excellent quality of organic natural roasted chicken from grocery stores like PCC here in Seattle.

Remove the meat from the chicken and shred into bite-sized pieces, leaving off the skin as well. Add to a large bowl with the olive oil and oregano. Toss and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Quickly cook the green beans in salted, boiling water for 5 minutes or until just barely tender.  Remove from the heat and drop beans into another bowl filled with ice water to stop the cooking.  Cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces and cook similarly to the green beans – in boiling water until just barely tender, and then drop into ice water.

Add the cooked green beans, potatoes, capers, olives, and tomatoes into the bowl with the chicken and toss.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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From → Kitchen Stories

2 Comments
  1. I bow to no-one in my love for a salade nicoise. The unctuous egg, the shockingly salty anchovy, the sheer Gallic elan of those crunching beans, the blushing rose, the glare from the rigging……ahhhh: but there’s the rub. When Mrs. B proudly assembled Saturday’s supper salad, I was forced to say to her as I say to you now, Richard: there’s a time and place, dear friend; a time and place.

    In a triumph of hope over experience, I believe it might be sunny and warm hereabouts on at least one weekend between now and the end of the year. Until that day, don’t clutter my weekend with your dainty salads and don’t think to divert me with your added chicken. It’s bloody meat and starch we need ’till the shorts come out and the shades go on.

  2. That looks like the perfect dish to herald in the arrival of Spring! Think I’ll give it a shot this weekend…

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