Is there anything better than a citrusy summer salad? I think not. I love the combination of peak-season fennel, a juicy clementine, oil-cured black olives and classic French lentils for a fresh take on a Mediterranean-style chicken salad. Feel free to incorporate whatever vegetables you find at your go-to farmers’ market into this flexible recipe, especially unique varieties of cucumbers, radishes and herbs. The time is now to celebrate summer’s most delightful flavors.
Mediterranean-Style Poached Chicken Salad
Makes 4 servings
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups dry white wine
1 clove garlic
½ yellow onion
herbs and aromatics to taste (thyme, parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns, etc.)
1. Place chicken in a large saucepan and pour over wine.
2. Add garlic, onion, herbs and aromatics. Pour over enough water to cover.
3. Bring to a slight simmer over low heat; do not boil. Cook covered until chicken is just cooked through or reads 165°F on an instant thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken.
5. Allow chicken to cool completely in liquid. Salt to taste.
1 cup French lentils
1 cup dry white wine
1 clove garlic
1. Add lentils, wine and garlic to a small saucepan. Pour over enough water to cover.
2. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook until lentils are tender but still retain shape. Season generously with salt to taste. Let cool.
1 minced shallot
2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 orange, juice and zest
coarsely ground pepper
½ cup olive oil
½ cup chopped basil leaves
1. In a small mixing bowl, combine shallot, sherry vinegar, mustard, orange, and salt and pepper to taste.
2. Slowly whisk in oil until emulsified. Stir in basil.
1 bulb fennel, shaved
1. Thinly slice chicken.
2. Layer lettuce on serving plates or a platter.
3. Top with a spoonful of lentils, chicken, fennel, cucumber, clementines, olives and basil. Spoon over vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper before serving.