Winter chicken salad with creamy blood orange dressing

Use up the final 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 it in lettuce cups or on a toasted slice of olive bread. If making in advance, fold the raisins in at the end or else they will soak up more of the dressing. Serves 4.
3XBlood oranges, zest reserved and juice set aside
1XLemon, zest reserved and juice set aside
½CUPplain Greek yogurt
1Xclove garlic, finely chopped
1Xshallot, finely chopped
½TSPNred pepper flakes
2TBSPNSfinely chopped fennel fronds
½CUPsliced almonds
4Xskinless, boneless chicken breasts
1CUPchicken stock
1Xbulb fresh fennel, trimmed, quartered, and thinly sliced, fronds reserved for dressing
½CUPgolden raisins
½CUPpitted Kalamata olives, halved

For the dressing:

  1. 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 rind, lemon rind 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.

For the salad:

  1. 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.
  2. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides, and arrange in the skillet in one layer.
  3. Add the stock 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.
  4. In a salad bowl, combine the fennel, golden raisins, kalamata olives, and half of the sliced almonds.
  5. Once cool enough to handle, use your fingers to shred the chicken. Transfer to the bowl with the fennel and olives.
  6. Add the blood orange dressing, toss well, and garnish with remaining sliced almonds. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper, if you like.  


Find this recipe in the food section of The Boston Globe here.

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