Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mediterranean Chicken and Roasted Vegetable Salad

Lately I've been on a serious roasted vegetable kick.  So this recipe is pretty similar to others I have posted recently, but has the significant addition of chicken.  No need for any sides other than maybe a little bread (though I did make a naan bread pizza with anchovies, fresh tomato, olives, and feta to accompany this for Rob).

Start by making the roasted veggies (these could even be made the day before and then stored in the fridge):

What you need:

A couple pounds of eggplant (maybe two medium- I used a variety of baby ones and part of a big one, because that's what I had), cut into 1-inch thick rounds
1/2 pound carrots or baby carrots- carrots should be cut into 1/8 inch slices and baby carrots cut in half if they are fat ones
1-2 red peppers, kept whole
1 medium onion, chopped roughly
1 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned and kept whole

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray two 13 x 9 pans with olive oil (or if you only have one, you can do this in batches, which is what I actually did).  Spread the eggplant and carrots across one pan, and the onion, red pepper, and mushrooms on the other.  Spray everything with olive oil and then season with salt and pepper.

Roast the eggplant pan for an hour and the other pan for 30 minutes.  If done, the vegetables should be soft and slightly browned.  Let cool and chop everything into bite sized pieces (make sure to remove the skin and seeds from the red pepper).  Place everything in a bowl.

For the rest of the salad:

1/2 pound- 1 pound cooked chicken, depending on how protein heavy you want it to be (see note below for cooking tips/ ideas)
1 cup sliced and quartered cucumber
1-2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 chopped Greek or Kalamata olives
1/2-1 cup chopped artichoke hearts (use the marinated ones if you don't mind the extra oil, or just the ones in brine, which is what I did)
4 anchovies, finely chopped
3-5 pickled jalapenos, chopped
1-2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
Black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, basil, and salt to taste (I probably used about 2 teaspoons each black pepper, oregano, and basil.  A ton of garlic powder, and a just a bit of salt, because my chicken was already seasoned, as were the veggies from the oven)

Optional (I would have added all of these, but circumstances on Saba prevented me from doing so):
1 head of roasted garlic, with the garlic squeezed out
Fresh Basil leaves
Fresh arugula (add this at the very end)

Mix everything together, refrigerate for an hour or a few, and serve on a bed of lettuce.  Sprinkle a little feta cheese on top if ya like.  Enjoy!

*Making the chicken:

You can simply boil the chicken, use meat from a rotisserie chicken (though not if you live on Saba), use leftover grilled, or saute some up like I did.  I used boneless chicken tenderloins and cooked them whole, because they are small enough that this works.  If I use breasts, I cut them up first.  Just heat your pan, add a good spray of olive oil, and add the chicken after it heats a bit.  Add a bit of salt right from the get go, because this helps the meat cook.  I also seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, poultry seasoning, and za'atar ( a Middle East spice mixture that I thought would work well with the rest of the salad).  When the chicken was almost done, I added a splash of white wine and lemon juice, turned down the heat to low, and covered it for the last couple minutes.  Once it's cooked, let it cool and cut into bite-sized pieces.

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