I sure hope you all enjoyed celebrating Easter as much as I did. I had a wonderful day at church celebrating hope and was blessed with great fellowship with friends later in the day. And of course, wonderful, indulgent food!!!
And if you are anything like me, you may have indulged a bit much on chocolate eggs and Starburst Jellybeans (I hated Jellybeans until they created fun flavors like this!!) or deviled eggs or carrot cake, the list goes on and on and on…….
Today is a fresh start! And finally, Spring is truly in the air here in Atlanta and I am ready for fresher foods, grilled fare, and lighter meals.
A trick to lighter fare is to amp up the flavor, whether that is through fresh herbs or citrus or highlighting produce in season. Adding freshness to Spring and Summer meals is so simple based on all the abundant produce that is finally at reasonable prices.
Today I wanted something simple, light and delicious. This chicken salad fit the bit. Flavor town is reached through the brightness of lemon and fresh parsley. Simple, simple but oh so wonderful! Guess what? It is ready in 15 minutes if you don’t count the marinade time.
Lemon Chicken Salad
- 1 lb chicken breasts pounded thin (or use chicken cutlets or tenders)
- 2 lemons
- 1 bag of spinach leaves
- 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- salt and pepper
- 1 tbs Dijon mustard optional
- 1/4 cup white wine optional
- freshly grated parmesan cheese optional
Zest and juice one lemon and whisk in 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and 3 tbs olive oil. Add marinade and chicken pieces into a large Ziploc bag and massage the marinade into the meat. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or up to 30 minutes.
Heat up skillet to med-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of marinade from chicken into skillet and then add the chicken (draining off any remaining marinade. Brown the chicken on one side for 1-2 minutes and flip, browning on the opposite side for 1-2 minutes as well. Remove the chicken to a plate and add the white wine and Dijon mustard to the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits on bottom of the skillet (this is flavor!!) Add the chicken back into the pan and lower heat and simmer until the liquid is absorbed by the chicken and the chicken is cooked through (about 5 minutes--chicken cooks fast when pounded thin!!)
Dress the spinach leaves with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the juice of the remaining lemon and 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Toss to coat the leaves.
Divide the spinach between 4 plates and top with cooked chicken. Sprinkle with the fresh parsley and grated cheese if using.
Don’t feel like you need to follow this recipe exactly. If the weather is gorgeous, grill the chicken and skip sauteing in the white wine. If it rainy where you are, broil the chicken or saute in wine (or chicken broth), as I did. Use what you have, but remember, freshness is key. Be sure to use fresh lemons for this recipe. You can skimp on parsley if desired, but no don’t use jarred lemon sauce—the dish will not satisfy!