On a recent girls trip to Santa Barbara I had the pleasure of preparing the meals for the weekend. Not your idea of a good time? Actually it was heaven. Imagine, nine of your favorite girlfriends, gathered together for the weekend to craft, drink wine, play on the beach and tell stories…..
One of my favorite meals of the trip was an Israeli Cous Cous Chicken Salad with a Spicy Dijon Vinaigrette. It was so simple and full of flavor (and it looked beautiful too). We served this delightful salad with a big block of Manchego cheese, sliced apples and a slab of crusty bread. YUM !!!
Spicy Mustard Vinaigrette
6 cloves of garlic
1/2cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons salt (sea or Kosher)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
Chicken and Cous Cous Salad
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
11/2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of lemon zest
Juice of one whole lemon
7 tablespoons of olive oil
6 boneless chicken breasts pounded
1 pound box if Israeli Cous Cous ( Buy it Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Bristol Farms)
1 onion finely chopped, sautéed cooled and set aside
11/2 pounds of asparagus cut diagonally into 3/4inch lengths and blanched
4 large carrots peeled or the equivalent baby carrots cut in to 3/4 inch length strips and blanched
3 medium zucchini halved lengthwise and sliced into 3/4 inch lengths and blanched
1 red bell pepper chopped into little cubes
1 yellow bell pepper chopped into little cubes
1 can of drained garbanzo beans ( sometimes I will add another 1/2 of a can if you are a fan)
1 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup Kalamata olives
1 bag of mixed greens, rinsed and spun dry
1 large platter to serve
Sliced Lemon for garnish (optional)
To Make The Vinaigrette
( I like putting all these ingredients in a bottle or in a recycled jar and simply shaking it up , you can also process this in your food processor)
Mince the 6 cloves of garlic ( a food processor or by hand)
Mix in the vinegar, mustard, salt, crushed red pepper and black pepper. Shake or blend in the oil.
To Prepare The Chicken
Pre- heat oven to 350
Wash chicken, pat dry. Place between two pieces of wax paper and pound it slightly.
Whisk together, garlic, rosemary, S&P, lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil. Pour over chicken and bake at 350 for about 20minutes or until cooked. Transfer to a platter and refrigerate until it’s cold. Slice the chicken on the diagonal into thin slices. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
To Make The Cous Cous
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add cous cous, boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and rinse with cool water. Drain. Toss it with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cool to room temp.
Put it together
Take the asparagus, carrots, zucchini, both red & yellow peppers, garbanzo beans, raisins & Kalamata olives and toss with 1/4 of your dressing, then add the cous cous. Start adding you dressing as needed.( If you are not going to serve it right away then wait to add the remaining dressing because the cous cous will soak up the dressing. Make a bed of greens on a large platter, add the cous cous mixture, top with the sliced chicken. Looks really pretty with sliced lemons on top as a garnish
Bon Appetite !
Note : This salad is just as delicious without the chicken and great as a main dish or side.