Winter Citrus Chicken Salad with Creamy Blood Orange Dressing
A lighter approach to a classic chicken salad, use up the bright bounties of citrus season in this wintry, Mediterranean interpretation of a chicken salad. Reducing the freshly squeezed blood orange juice intensifies its flavor for the dressing, while the hint of lemon maintains a subtle tartness. This salad is flavorful enough to stand on its own, or serve in lettuce cups or on a toasted slice of olive bread. Serves 4
For the Dressing
3 blood oranges, zested and juiced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons finely chopped fennel fronds
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
For the Salad
1/2 cup sliced almonds
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup water
1 bulb fresh fennel, trimmed, quartered, and thinly sliced, fronds reserved for dressing
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1. For the dressing, in a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the blood orange juice to a simmer and allow liquid to reduce by half, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, and set aside to cool.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the blood orange zest, lemon zest and juice, Greek yogurt, garlic, shallot, honey, red pepper flakes, fennel fronds, parsley, salt and pepper.
3. Once the reduced blood orange juice has cooled, add it to the yogurt mixture. Taste for seasoning, and refrigerate until ready to use.
4. In a skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring often or until they are golden brown. Turn off the heat, and set the almonds aside to cool. Wipe out the pan to use for the chicken.
5. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides, and arrange in the skillet in one layer.
6. Add the stock, white wine, and water, and bring mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, and cook the chicken for about 15 minutes, turning half way through, until chicken breasts are firm to the touch and cooked through. Set aside to cool.
7. In a salad bowl, combine the sliced fennel, golden raisins, kalamata olives, and half of the sliced almonds.
8. Once cool enough to handle, use your fingers to shred the chicken. Transfer to the bowl with the fennel and olives. Add the blood orange dressing, toss well, and garnish with remaining sliced almonds. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper, then serve.