Spring can be both a frustrating and a fun time in the kitchen.
I can't wait to get the barbecue grill fired up but as soon as I plan on it the weather turns cloudy, cold and rainy.
I dream of sitting outside with a chilled glass of a Spanish rosado but instead find myself sitting in front of the fireplace with a cup of tea.
This is a salad for those days….
A cross between a salad and a stir-fry, filled with the flavors of the Mediterranean: capers, olives, peppers, garlic, cumin and oregano.
If it's nice – do the chicken, peppers and onions on the barbecue grill.
If it's not – a skillet works just fine.
The salad is layered on orzo and spinach.
Warm Mediterranean Chicken Salad on Spinach
Cooking time: 25 minutes
2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1/2 red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic
12 dry-cured or Greek olives
2 tbs capers
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs white Balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sherry
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tsp cornstarch (maizena, corn flour) dissolved in 1 tbs water
1/2 cup orzo
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
3oz (90gr) spinach or other spring greens enough for 2 main meal salads
Cook orzo in chicken stock, covered, until done. Drain if needed.
Slice pepper into strips, then cut strips in half. Quarter onion, then slice. Mince garlic. Pit olives if needed, cut in half. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cumin, herbs and sauté briefly. Add onion, peppers, garlic, chicken and sauté until vegetables are tender and chicken is browned on all sides. Add sherry, vinegar, stock and bring to a simmer.
Dissolve cornstarch in water and add, stirring until thickened. Remove from heat and add olives and capers.
To Finish: Prepare spinach or greens, spin dry. Arrange on two plates. Divide orzo and spoon on top of greens. Divide chicken and spoon on top of orzo. Serve.