Despite the fact that Kate thinks we eat chicken every night for dinner, which is not true, I love chicken. Chicken can be prepared in a million different ways and it always delivers. Rarely have I met a chicken dish I didn't like. For me, chicken is the protein for all seasons.
I am also a lover of summer salads. To me, there is nothing more refreshing on a hot night than a salad filled with all the best that the season has to offer. Tabbouleh salad is a particular favorite of mine.
I started out with Ina Garten's Chicken with Tabbouleh salad and then went to town with it, adding sharp feta cheese and salty Kalamata olives. What results is the perfect summer salad, as far as I'm concerned. And there were lots of leftovers, which will make delicious lunches for a couple of days.
Recipe: Chicken with Tabbouleh
(Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties!, 2001)
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup bulgur wheat
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1 whole (2 split) chicken breast, bone in, skin on
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (1 bunch)
1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (2 bunches)
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (1 bunch)
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
8 ounces feta cheese, medium-diced
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and medium-diced
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a heat-proof bowl, pour the boiling water over the bulgur wheat. Add the lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Stir. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the bulgur to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.
Place the chicken breast on a baking sheet and rub it with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
Remove the chicken meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into medium dice and add to the tabbouleh. Add the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, olives, feta, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Season, to taste, and serve immediately or cover and refrigerate. The flavors will improve as it sits.