Even though we’re headed home today, (I’m actually sipping a cappuccino at London’s Heathrow airport as I write) after a delightful trip to London, and a week in Paris, we’re finding ourselves still lingering in France, at least in a culinary sense…
We have a few more French recipes coming up that were inspired by our Paris trip, but this delightful salad has it’s origins in the beautiful, sunny region of Provence located in Southern France. Scott and I didn’t have the opportunity to visit Provence, but I know someone who’s been there recently and she’s actually guest blogging today at The Café…
I’m thrilled to have you meet my daughter, Cait. She’s a dear friend who I love spending time with, as well as one who keeps me on track and accountable in so many ways.
She served this fabulous salad the night we arrived in London. Jet lag didn’t affect our tastebuds a bit, and as soon as I tasted it, I knew it was a blog-worthy winner. Cait told a fun story about the salad, and I asked it she would share it with you as well…
I know if you’ve read Mom’s blogs posts and/or seen her Instagrams over the last few years, you might not believe me, but living in London isn’t always a walk in the park (despite the fact that everywhere one turns, there seems to be one!).
While summers here can be glorious, assuming the rain holds off, winters are typically pretty dark, grey and wet. At winter’s peak the daylight hours are only from 8:30 a.m. til 3:30 p.m. and the sun remains so low in the sky, that I’m pretty sure most Londoners are vitamin D deficient for a good portion of the year! But, the upside to living here is the proximity to the rest of the European continent, making a hop over to warmer climates quite easy.
With four children in tow, we don’t make the trek all that often, but, when some sweet friends and fellow Londoners invited us to escape the rain a few weeks ago to visit them in sunny Provence, France, we quite happily boarded a plane to fly the short two hour flight south.
We landed in Marseille on a stunning blue skied morning, rented a car and, after exploring a bit of the coastline, slowly wound our way to the Provencal countryside. If you haven’t made it to that part of the world, I’ll paint you a quick picture…..
It’s as if time has stood still. Rolling hills with rustic vineyards, expansive fields of wide, gnarled olive trees, winding rivers filled with sparkling turquoise water, quaint cobblestone villages packed with markets, patisseries and tiny restaurants; and above all; is the constant, radiantly blue sky. It doesn’t take long to figure out why so many painters were so deeply inspired by this magical place.
Our friends greeted us with warm welcomes and an amazing dinner, mostly picked from their garden or harvested from the surrounding countryside. As we washed greens, sectioned grapefruit and shredded chicken, our kids cracked and retrieved newly harvested almonds from their shells.
My mom says, food always tastes better when it’s made by someone else- which is probably true. I think that only slightly tainted my judgment as I dove into the salad we had created. To say I over-ate is an exaggeration, but I just couldn’t stop enjoying this salad of amazingly fresh, but uniquely combined ingredients.
My obsession didn’t stop when the meal was over, but followed me back to London. When my parents arrived from the U.S. a week later, I knew this was the recipe of choice to serve on their first night in London.
Thankfully, my food memory served me well. After the first bite. my mom said, “You have to share this on the blog!” So here it is…..
P.S. I serve the salad with some big crusty croutons, which we accidentally omitted when doing the photo shoot. We’ve included the instructions for the croutons, but the salad would also be lovely with a crusty loaf of bread (French of course!).
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Provencal Roasted Chicken Salad with Mango Curry Dressing
A uniquely delicious combination of fresh ingredients from sunny Provence combine to make a fabulous main course salad!
- Category: Salad
- Cuisine: French
- For the salad:
- 8 cups greens, use arugula, field greens, watercress or any other tender greens. I like to use whatever looks freshest at the market.)
- 1 small bulb fennel, very thinly sliced, reserve thin green fronds from top (they kind of look like dill)
- 2 medium pink or ruby grapefruit, peel and white pith removed
- 2-3 cups roasted chicken breast, broken up into large chunks (Prepared rotisserie chicken works great for this salad or you can roast your own.)
- ⅓ cup whole shelled almonds
- ¼ cup dried blueberries*, substitute dried cranberries or currants, if desired
- For the dressing:
- 1 tablespoon mild curry powder
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar syrup**
- ⅓ cup prepared mango chutney***
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- ¼ cup reserved grapefruit juice
- ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- For the croutons:
- ½ medium-size baguette, cut into 1″ cubes
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- For the salad, place greens in a large bowl. Top with fennel, grapefruit slices, chicken, almonds, dried blueberries and fennel fronds. Drizzle lightly with the dressing. Serve and enjoy! Pass extra dressing at the table.
- For the dressing, heat a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add curry powder and stir for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant (this helps intensify the delicious flavor).
- Place toasted curry powder in a medium-size glass jar. Add all remaining dressing ingredients and shake well. Dressing is even better if it sits for several hours to give the flavors time to meld.
- For the croutons, preheat oven to 350˚F. Place baguette cubes on a sheet pan. Drizzle with the olive oil and quickly toss to distribute oil. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crisp and pale golden brown. Set aside.
* Dried blueberries can sometimes we hard to find but they are super delicious. Usually Costco and Trader Joe’s will carry them and they’re always available online.
** Balsamic syrup is simply balsamic vinegar that”s been reduced. You can find it at Super Walmart stores or you can make your own by simmering balsamic vinegar for a few minutes just until it starts to thicken a bit.
*** You can find mango chutney in the international aisle of the grocery store, usually in the Asian/Indian or at any Indian grocery or online. There are lots of brands to choose from, I like the Major Grey which is fairly common and easy to find.Trader Joe’s has a great mango chutney also. It’s a fun condiment to have stashed in the fridge as it’s also wonderful with grilled shrimp, chicken or pork and is delightful in a panini type sandwich.