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Salt + Pepper Chicken and Mediterranean Potato Salad

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Any of you living in Boston will agree that the past winter – and even the start of spring – has been tough.   So to kick off what I’m hoping will be a slightly warmer week, I decided to prepare a lighter, spring-inspired dinner.

And because I didn’t have a lot of time to cook AND track my progress with photos, all I have to show for myself is the above shot of the final product: simple salt+pepper pan-seared split chicken breast with a warm Mediterranean potato salad.

This potato and green bean salad is really one of my favorite things to make.  It pairs beautifully with any protein – chicken, fish, beef… and is also really good on its own.  It’s hearty, thanks to the potatoes and chickpeas, and has big flavor that comes from the acidic bite of the dressing, and the brightness of the olives and capers.

Potato Salad

  • 1/4 pound haricot verts (or the finest green beans you can find)
  • 1 lb small red potatoes
  • 1 small red onion
  • 3/4 cup chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley and mint
  • 2 TBSP capers
  • 2 TBSP chopped green olives
  • 1 TBSP each of extra virgin olive oil, grain dijon mustard, good red wine vinegar

Clean the green beans and boil for 2-3 minutes in salted boiling water.  Drain (with a hand strainer – keep the boiling water for the potatoes!) and immediately immerse them in a ice water bath to stop cooking and preserve the bright green color.

If using small red potatoes, quarter them so they’re about an inch and a half big (if using larger potatoes, cut them so that they get to that size).  Place them in the same boiling water used for the green beans and boil for 10-15 min or until a knife pierces through the center easily.

While the potatoes are boiling, take the green beans out of the cold water, pat dry, and place in a large bowl.  To the bowl, add the red onion (chopped), chickpeas (rinsed), capers (chopped), olives (chopped), and herbs.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, mustard and red wine vinegar.  When the potatoes are ready, drain, and add (while warm) to the mixture already in the bowl.  Pour over the dressing and toss well.

Salt + Pepper Chicken

This recipe is super simple.  But to get it right, the key is PATIENCE.  First, let 2 lbs of bone-in, skin-on split chicken breast rest at room temperature for 30-45 minutes. Then pat dry, brush with olive oil, and generously sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Second, put 3 TBSP olive oil (or canola oil – it can get hotter without burning) into a 12″ cast iron skillet (or any other large skillet you have – that can easily fit all the chicken pieces) and heat until you see the oil start to smoke.  Then place the chicken in, skin-side down.  Let sear for at least five minutes until a golden brown crust has developed and it pulls away easily from the skillet.  Don’t attempt to move or flip the chicken before that crust is fully formed – if you do, you’ll rip away the skin, leaving parts of it in the pan, and be left with a torn-up looking chicken with a golden color, but no crispness.

Once flipped, let cook for another 5-7 minutes, and turn every so often until the internal temperature reads 160 degrees.

Let rest for 5-10 minutes so the juices can redistribute and settle back in, and serve with a generous portion of the salad (at room temperature) along with a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc – a nice French Sancerre would be fabulous!

Happy eating!