Drawing inspiration from the healthful foods of the mediterranean, we added beautiful, deep purple figs to transform a simple salad of chicken and greens into something special. High in fiber, fresh figs have a subtle floral sweetness, which we wanted to enhance with a dressing seasoned with warm spices. We tried a variety of spice blends, and homed in on coriander for its light citrus note, along with smoked paprika and cinnamon for depth. We microwaved the spices to bloom their flavor for a bolder dressing, then whisked in lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey to balance the spice. We poached the chicken following the method in our Turmeric Chicken Salad Sandwiches, then added hearty chickpeas, which brought protein, fiber, and vitamins. A bed of peppery baby arugula complemented our dressing well. Our salad was now full of warm, bright flavors, but needed a bit of crunch to play against the soft figs. Toasted and chopped almonds, rich in vitamin e and unsaturated fats, made the perfect topping. You can substitute dried figs for fresh in this recipe.
- Yield: 6 Servings
- Salt and pepper
- 4 (4- to 6-ounce) organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts, no more than 1 inch thick, trimmed of all visible fat
- 6 tablespoons cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed
- 5 ounces (5 cups) baby arugula
- ½ cup fresh parsley leaves
- 1 shallot, sliced thin
- 8 fresh figs, stemmed and quartered
- ½ cup whole almonds, toasted and chopped
- Dissolve 1 tablespoon salt in 6 cups cold water in Dutch oven. Submerge chicken in water. Heat pot over medium heat until water registers 170 degrees. Turn off heat, cover pot, and let stand until chicken registers 165 degrees, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer chicken to cutting board and let cool slightly. Using 2 forks, shred chicken into bite-size pieces.
- Meanwhile, microwave 1 tablespoon oil, coriander, paprika, and cinnamon in large bowl until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk lemon juice, honey, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper into spice mixture. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in remaining 5 tablespoons oil.
- Add shredded chicken, chickpeas, arugula, parsley, and shallot to dressing in bowl and gently toss to combine. Transfer salad to serving platter, arrange figs over top, and sprinkle with nuts. Serve.