Grilled Chicken with Couscous Greek Salad and Lemon Vinaigrette

Dedicated to Gus and Irene Matthews

Hello!  I missed you.  (Actually, I didn’t; I had no time to miss anything.)  But I’m happy to be back.  Thanks for being here.

Back from vacation and hot, hot, hot. HOT!  I know it’s hotter out east, and the temperature has been going down this afternoon as a storm approaches, but I sort of miss Canada.  Recipe way below if you’re interested…

I really miss being waited on.  Having my coffee delivered every morning.  Having no laundry (til I got home).  Being with Dave all the time without anything to distract us from one another. (Ah, gee.)
Making new friends I wish I were with this minute.

She could find a French cafe anywhere.
Did you know they make wine in Quebec?  I liked the dessert wines best and brought some home.
Dave’s favorite pose.
Coast of Cape Breton
Somewhere off the coast of Canada!
Me and my castle.

I guess I digressed, but we did wine and dine for nine days….  My favorite city (and we went on a ship from Montreal – Boston, visiting Quebec City, Prince Edward Island, Sydney, Halifax, and Bar Harbor in between) was Montreal; I’m dying to go back.  Our best meal was at Hamersley’s Bistro in Boston.  Many thanks to Lydia Walshin of Perfect Pantry fame, who recommended it as her favorite go-to.)  Balanced, accessible wine list. House-made pâté with crispy, crusty, chewy baguette.   Small, but perfect entree list; I chose “Lamb Three Ways.”  I now know there is a God.   Dave had roast chicken the likes of which I pray to taste again in my lifetime.  (I thought I made great roast chicken with pan juices.)  Kind, but refined service.  No snooty guys in long aprons rolling their eyes; these folks were genuine food-lovers who knew their restaurant and wanted to make sure you knew it, too.

Just go.

Did you come for a recipe?  Ah, grilled chicken and Greek salad!  About it:  I’ve made similar salads, but not quite exactly like this.  There’s one on the blog, but I thought the idea worth repeating as we love this come hot weather.  Grill up some chicken tenders or boneless breasts very quickly (Who even wants to stand in front of the grill?) while your partner makes a fast chopped Greek salad mixed with a bit of couscous.   If it’s just you doing all the cooking, make the vinaigrette and couscous first, next the mixed vegetables, then the chicken, and last, toss the salad.   Arrange it all on a big, beautiful platter (buy one–check out Good Will) and dinner is served.  It was so hot last night that we ate inside.

grilled chicken tenders with couscous greek salad   serves 4

You can also make this salad with cooked, diced rotisserie chicken.  After tossing couscous with vegetables and greens, add the chicken and then the vinaigrette.

ingredients list: 

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2  teaspoon dried oregano, divided
  • Crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for brushing on chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked couscous made with onion and garlic (see below for directions)
  • 1/2 English cucumber, unpeeled
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2  green bell pepper
  • 1/4 pound feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 pound boneless chicken tenders
  • 1 – 1/12 cups cooked couscous with added onion and garlic (see below for directions)
  • 4 cups mixed fresh salad greens

1. Make a vinaigrette first: Whisk well together 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 3/4 t Dijon-style mustard, a good pinch of salt, pepper, dried oregano and crushed red pepper.  Drizzle in slowly 1/2 cup olive oil and whisk until well-combined or thickened (emulsified.)   Set aside.

2. Make the couscous as per directions below.  Set aside.

3. Chop the English cucumber,  tomatoes, green pepper (if using), feta, and red onion. Mince the parsley. Add all of the vegetables to a large bowl and stir in kalamata olives.  Mix together gently with the other teaspoon of dried oregano, a pinch of crushed red pepper, and 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar.  Set aside.

4.  Grill until just done (about 2 minutes on each side) 1 lb. of chicken tenders or boneless chicken breasts brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.  Place at center of a large serving platter.  Cover and let rest 2-4 minutes.

5.  When chicken is resting, add 4 cups mixed greens and the 1 – 1 1/2 cups couscous to the vegetables in the large bowl and toss together.  Drizzle with lemon vinaigrette and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Uncover the chicken and spoon the salad mixture onto the serving platter around the chicken tenders.  Drizzle a bit more vinaigrette over the chicken and serve hot or at room temperature.

*COUSCOUS: Buy a box of couscous with roasted garlic and olive oil, such as the one made by NEAR EAST.  Don’t follow the package directions.  Sauté 2 tablespoons minced onion and 1 clove minced garlic with a pinch each of salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper in a tablespoon or two of olive oil until softened–a couple of minutes.   Add the required 1 1/4 cup water and seasoning packet and bring to a boil. Add dried couscous, cover, and remove from heat.  Let sit until you need it, then fluff with a fork.  You’ll need just 1 1/2 cups; use the rest for lunches.

{printable recipe}

above:  the salad made with diced rotisserie chicken

We drank a brilliant Oregon white with this:  Tony Soter‘s North Valley “Hyland White,” 2008–made from Riesling and Traminer vines.  I don’t know if they’re still making this wine.  At a quick glance, I didn’t see it on their website, but you should always call the vineyard to see what’s available.  If they only have a couple of cases or a few bottles, it won’t show on the site.  The winery, in 2008, made only 70 cases of this wine.

Here’s our wine group tasting at Soter a couple of years ago.

two-dog kitchen

The kids had Newman for supper last night.  They’ve been apart for so long!

Sing a new song,
Alyce

all photos and text copyright Alyce Morgan, 2012. no use without permission.  just ask.

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