Mezze & Dolce

Light Mediterranean Meals Paired with Ample Dessert

Mezze: Saffron Chicken & Herb Salad

Good Final

I set out to make this recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem completely by the book; I heard that his flavors were something close to perfection, and I didn’t want to get anything wrong! But then I forgot to buy basil, and because it was New Years eve, the stores were closed. I walked into a few local eateries, and they were all basil-less, too. What was I to do?  So I made my last stop in Ms. Ollie’s, a new Caribbean spot in Oakland with a friendly chef. She walked me through the recipe’s other ingredients and handed me a bunch of marjoram, as well as a few pointers to go along with it.

My childhood art teacher, Marilyn Benkeler, used to tell us that “a mistake is often a creation not yet realized.” I think that this experience proved the wisdom of her words (not that I needed proof by the way – Marilyn was AWESOME). Marjoram is a powerful herb, so I substituted in just a bit, giving the salad a more floral, woodsy flavor. And once I started innovating, it was hard to stop. I decided to throw in some red onion and red pepper for crunch, too. Someday I’d love to try the original recipe with its abundance of fresh basil, but I’m proud of my new creation. I hope you like it, too. –jaime

P.S.  Jacque’s also been obsessed with Ottolenghi, ever since she was inspired by one of his London eateries.

Ingredients

~Orange Paste~

1 small orange

2 1/2 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 1/4 cups water

~Salad~

2 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast

4 tablespoons olive oil

5 green onions

around 30 arugula leaves

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1 small red pepper, sliced (optional)

1 cup cilantro

20 mint leaves, torn

3 tablespoons marjoram (or 2/3 cup basil)

1/2 lemon (around 2 tablespoons)

1 chile

2 cloves garlic, crushed

salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

1. Remove 1/2 inch from top and bottom of orange and cut it into 12 wedges. Remove any seeds, but keep the skin on (really!).

2. Combine the wedges with the other paste ingredients, but only use enough water to cover the oranges. Bring to a coil and simmer gently for an hour, until you’re left with soft orange and around 3 tablespoons of a thick syrup.

3. Puree the orange and syrup into a smooth, runny paste. If desired, add more honey, vinegar, or water.

4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Mix the chicken breasts with 2 tablespoons olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper. Roast chicken for 15 to 20 minutes, until just cooked. (If desired, sear both sides of chicken on a griddle pan before roasting to give chicken grill marks).

5. When chicken is cool enough, hand tear it into large pieces. Place in a large bowl, add the orange paste, and stir well.

6. Add the remaining ingredients to the salad, including the rest of the olive oil, and toss gently.

7. Taste, add salt, and if needed, more olive oil, lemon juice, or herbs.

Good oranges

Good paste

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5 comments on “Mezze: Saffron Chicken & Herb Salad

  1. Pingback: Mezze: Tomato Barley “Risotto” with Armenian Cheese « Mezze & Dolce

  2. Beth (OMG! Yummy)
    March 23, 2013

    I just adore that picture of the orange and saffron together. So thrilled to have met you last weekend and found more friends to cook and chat with as we cook our way through “Jerusalem”.

    • mezzeanddolce
      March 24, 2013

      Yes! I’m so happy to be cooking and blogging buddies! ~Jaime

  3. Pingback: M & D Cookbook Suggestions for Mom – Mother’s Day is Just Around the Corner! | Mezze & Dolce

  4. Pingback: Inspiring Ingredient: Mint | Mezze & Dolce

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Information

This entry was posted on January 14, 2013 by in Mezze, Poultry, Salads and tagged , , , .

About Jacque & Jaime

Jaime and Jacque are two gals who discovered a mutual passion for Mediterranean flavors and ingredients and never turned back. They started Mezze & Dolce to share this love, their recipes, and their inspirations with the world. Follow them at www.mezzeanddolce.com.

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