Brace yourselves for an onslaught of salad recipes! There is something about these early days of summer that makes me crave a crisp, refreshing salad (and it has nothing to do with the beginning of bathing suit season). Frankly, I should be eating more salad and other leafy greens year round, but my own early-summer cravings, in addition to my husband’s request that we eat a bit lighter (hmm, do you think I make too much pasta?), led me to peruse my Maine cookbooks in search of some delicious, exciting salad recipes. They didn’t disappoint.
If you’re thinking, ‘a Mediterranean Chicken Salad recipe from Maine? Yeah right,’ you do have a point. I pulled this recipe from my Maine Home Cooking cookbook, under the Modern Maine Cooking section. In an introductory paragraph, Sandra Oliver acknowledges that many of the recipes in that section are a reflection of outside influences, both international and national. Maine home cooks, like cooks elsewhere, want to experiment at home with the recipes they’re able to try at restaurants. The following recipe serves 3 to 4 people.
- a whole chicken (cooked), breasts and a thigh
- 1 big fistful of green beans
- 2 tablespoons capers
- a dozen black olives, pitted and chopped
- handful of cherry tomatoes (optional)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- juice of 1 lemon
- dried oregano
- finely minced parsley
- salt and pepper, to taste
- washed and torn lettuce or baby greens
Because Nick and I certainly don’t need to consume an entire chicken between us (and I’m not a big fan of salad leftovers – in my opinion, the greens just don’t keep well), I poached a couple of chicken breasts in a broth with onion, several peppercorns, and some white wine. After it was cooked, I shredded it for use in the salad. I also think a rotisserie chicken would be a delicious and speedy answer for cooks who would rather not undertake cooking the chicken themselves.
Pull the meat from the bones, cut into bite-size pieces, and put them into a bowl. Snap the beans and blanch them in hot water or cook until tender – your choice (I simmered mine until they were slightly tender, but retained a little bit of crunch). Add them to the chicken. Sprinkle capers on to taste, add the olives, slice the tomatoes in half (if you wish), and add them. In a small jar, shake the olive oil and lemon juice together and dribble over the salad to taste. Sprinkle on some dry oregano, parsley, and add salt and pepper to taste. Let rest at room temperature. Serve the salad on the lettuce or greens.
This salad was every bit as good as I imagined it would be when reading the recipe. Personally, I love the caper and lemon flavors, and with the addition of chicken, it was a light but filling meal that really hit the spot. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!