Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Time

Oh boy, I really have been having trouble putting words to paper this summer.  I feel scattered and, at times, unhinged. I feel a need for clarity, an unfolding of the mind, as Denise at Chez Danisse so eloquently put it. Although I don't seem to be writing, I am cooking. So until clarity presents itself,
I thought I would show you what we have been eating this summer.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Dinner Tonight

The heat wave we have been having in New Jersey has finally broken, but not for long I'm sure.  Summer in New Jersey equals heat and plenty of humidity. Just the kind of weather that makes one dread the thought of turning on the stove or the oven. It doesn't matter that we, thankfully, have air conditioning,  just walking out the door to the grill in that kind of weather seems like a monumental task.

On those days when it seems like the air just can't seem to hold any more water vapor, I turn to main dish salads. I love chicken salad because of its versatility. Believe me I have made plenty in my day--Asian Chicken Salad, Chicken Salad with Grapes and Walnuts, Waldorf Chicken Salad--see, versatile. But my favorite is one I have been making for years, Mediterranean Chicken Salad

I first saw this recipe In Parade Magazine in 2006.  I don't have the name of the author, but I am almost certain that it was Sheila Lukins of The Silver Palate fame. It's a great salad with tender stringbeans, crunchy celery, shiny black olives all tied together with a lemony vinaigrette.

So, you know what they say, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen, and think of having this very satisfying dish for dinner tonight.
The salad ingredients prepare to be joined

Mediterranean Chicken Salad atop my window box lettuces

Mediterranean Chicken Salad

1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
6 cups torn cooked white meat chicken 
4 ribs celery, cut into slices or strips
1/2 cup Kalamata olives
1/3 cup chopped flat-leafed parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salad greens, for serving

Blanch the green beans in boiling, salted water until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain, refresh under cold water, drain again and pat dry. Place in large bowl with chicken, celery, olives and parsley.

Before serving, season with salt and pepper.  Toss well with the lemon zest and juice and olive oil.
Toss greens with some lemon juice and olive oil and top with chicken salad.

Serves 4-6

Cook's Note
Pick up a cooked rotisserie chicken or breasts from the market. Perfect for a hot day!