Saffron Chicken & Herb Salad

Saffron Chicken and herb Salad from Jerusalem

Saffron Chicken & Herb Salad is a unique and explosive combination of flavors — I guarantee it’s like no other chicken salad you’ve ever had!

Saffron Chicken and herb Salad from Jerusalem

Even after several years of food blogging I never find myself bored or out of ideas.  If anything, I have trouble filtering out all the wonderful possibilities so I can settle on what to cook on any given day.  But occasionally I’ll find myself in a rut, and when that happens I know just what to do, I open up one of my Yotam Ottolenghi cookbooks and leaf through it.  Within minutes I’ll find something that fires up my imagination.  His recipes combine ordinary ingredients in such novel ways that a whole new taste sensation results.  This bright Saffron Chicken & Herb Salad is a great example of his genius.

Saffron Chicken & Herb Salad

The saffron orange puree is probably the most unique element in this salad.  A whole orange, (I used an organic one) is cut into wedges and boiled with some honey, vinegar, saffron and a little water until soft.  The whole thing is pureed into a thick dressing.  The flavor is intense and unique.  Anybody counting how many times  I say ‘unique’ in this post?

A unique saffron and orange dressing for Saffron Chicken & Herb Salad

The only change I would make to this recipe is to use a rotisserie chicken instead of baking chicken breasts — it’s not only easier, but I think the meat is a little juicier and more tender.  That means that the only work involved in putting this together is cooking up the orange sauce.

Saffron Chicken & Herb Salad is a healthy salad with a unique combination of flavors

This recipe is slightly adjusted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem.  (If you don’t have this book I can’t recommend it enough.)

Saffron Chicken & Herb Salad

Yield: serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 orange
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and very thinly sliced
  • handful of cilantro leaves
  • handful of basil leaves, torn, if large
  • smaller handful mint leaves, torn if large
  • 2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 hot chile pepper, preferably red, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Set oven to 400F
  2. Slice off both ends of the orange, and then cut into 12 wedges. Remove any seeds. Put the wedges, peel and all, into a small saucepan with the honey, saffron, and vinegar. Add just enough water to cover the oranges. Bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour, or until it is reduced to a thick syrup. Add a bit more water during cooking if it gets too dry. Use a food processor or immersion blender to puree the mixture into a smooth 'sauce', adding a little more water if is too thick to pour.
  3. Rub the chicken breasts with half the oil, and salt and pepper. Brown on both sides on a hot grill pan for 2 minutes per side, or until you get good grill marks. Transfer to a baking sheet and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, until just done inside.
  4. Cool the chicken until you can handle it and then tear it into large bite sized pieces. Put the chicken in a large salad bowl and toss with some of the orange paste. I used enough to lightly coat the chicken. (You won't need all of the sauce.)
  5. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl, including the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil Toss gently.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and taste to adjust any of the seasonings.
https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/saffron-chicken-herb-salad/

notes:

  • As I mentioned, I think you can get away with using a fresh rotisserie chicken with good results here and save yourself some work.
  • The saffron orange sauce is potent, start with a little and add more to your taste.  You’ll have some leftover, especially if you use a large orange like I did.  Ottolenghi recommends using it on fish.
  • Be sure to slice the fennel super thinly, I used the thinnest setting on my mandoline slicer.

  Saffron Chicken & Herb Salad

 

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27 Comments

  • Reply
    Robyn @ Simply Fresh Dinners
    March 14, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Hi Sue,
    Just wanted to let you know his book arrived in the mail just now and I’m so excited! I have some of his other books but this one looks extra special and I’ve been wanting it for ages – just needed that extra push and your gorgeous salad did it!

    Have a great day :)

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    March 11, 2016 at 11:58 am

    What a gorgeous salad, Sue! That vibrant dressing is so intriguing and I’m sure gives this salad such a unique flavor. Craving a big bowl for lunch!

  • Reply
    Deb|EastofEdenCooking
    March 11, 2016 at 11:06 am

    I’m always searching for easy weeknight meals. This salad is perfect for our shopping day dinner. We try to do our grocery run after work, during the week. It leaves the entire weekend free! The fabulous dressing can be made ahead and the salad prepped too. If I bring home a rotisserie chicken, I’ve got it done and done!

  • Reply
    2 Sisters Recipes
    March 10, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    This is a beautiful salad! Your orange sauce sounds delicious! Thanks for a brilliant salad.
    Have a great weekend!

  • Reply
    Susan
    March 10, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    What a unique salad! I love your idea of using a rotisserie chicken and concentrating on making the saffron orange sauce. Wish it were less expensive!

  • Reply
    Heather
    March 10, 2016 at 5:25 am

    Looks delicious! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
    March 10, 2016 at 4:28 am

    Wow, so gorgeous and bright Sue! Love that saffron orange puree! Definitely need to give this one a try! Perfect for a girlfriends luncheon!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    March 10, 2016 at 4:12 am

    This orange sauce sounds incredible! The colors, textures and flavor combination is nothing short of brilliant! Very pretty Sue – sharing :)

  • Reply
    Abbe @ This is How I Cook
    March 9, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    I think between you and me we may have cooked this whole book! Now I have to go try this one. I’ve been hankering for a salad and this sounds perfect!

  • Reply
    Tracy | Baking Mischief
    March 9, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    This is such a gorgeous salad! I love that it has such a unique dressing. Sometimes I find myself bored with my usual rotation of salads and am always on the look out for something new and interesting. This definitely fits the bill! I can’t wait to give it a try.

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 9, 2016 at 7:46 pm

      You can’t get any more innovative than this, he never ceases to amaze me :)

  • Reply
    Sam | Ahead of Thyme
    March 9, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    I can’t wait to try this salad! It looks delicious!!

  • Reply
    jacqueline | i sugar coat it!
    March 9, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    WHOA! What a looker and I can already taste the wonderful flavours just by looking!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    March 9, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    Stunning salad, Sue and I love turning to my cookbooks for inspiration, too. Never fails to inspire :)

  • Reply
    Liz @ I Heart Vegetables
    March 9, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    I haven’t taken the plunge to buy saffron yet but I know I NEED to! What an awesome flavor! :)

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 9, 2016 at 4:10 pm

      It comes in SUCH tiny amounts, Liz, but a little goes a long way!

  • Reply
    Dana
    March 9, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    This looks like a great, hearty salad with so much flavor! I’ve never actually tried saffron–I need to. Haha.

  • Reply
    cheri
    March 9, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    Hi Sue, I happen to be one of those people that eat with their eyes, this salad it beautiful. Great tip about using rotisserie chicken. I have his last 3 books and there always seems to be something new in them that I have not seen before. Take care.

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 9, 2016 at 2:57 pm

      I know what you mean, I’ve had Jerusalem for some time and find new things each time I flip through.

  • Reply
    Diane {Created by Diane}
    March 9, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    I just LOVE saffron, so this must taste amazing and it’s so pretty and colorful just perfect. It’s look like sunshine in a bowl!

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    March 9, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Sounds wonderful and so…. (I’m trying to be unique) out of the ordinary :) I too am always inspired by Ottolenghi! Love that orange dressing!

  • Reply
    Robyn @ Simply Fresh Dinners
    March 9, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Such a beautiful, unique salad, Sue. The colours and freshness is just what I’m craving these days. I can’t wait to try the orange sauce! And I’m headed off to buy the book right now :) Sharing!

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    March 9, 2016 at 11:09 am

    This looks so very tasty and packed full of flavour. I must try that saffron chicken myself too.

  • Reply
    John/Kitchen Riffs
    March 9, 2016 at 9:51 am

    I never run out of blogging ideas! I have literally hundreds of recipes I’d like to do — I’ll never get through them. And now I have one more — this looks SO good. Saffron? Yes please. With chicken? Double yes! Really nice — thanks.

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 9, 2016 at 11:30 am

      So much great food and not enough time, I agree :)

  • Reply
    monique
    March 9, 2016 at 9:46 am

    I find salads ..that are beautiful..like this..so photogenic.
    You know.. I still don’t get saffron..I love the look..I love how one cultivates it..the flowers..the pistils..but I cannot say jacques and I have found it makes a huge difference in foods apart from the color..I use it in Paella..etc.
    Maybe I just have not bought the best kind..at least my latest is cute..I needed some in Fl..and fell for the capsules:)

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 9, 2016 at 11:31 am

      I used to feel that way about saffron Monique, and in this case the flavor isn’t very strong, but I have made risottos with enough saffron to really taste it and it’s lovely! Of course the cost is so high that I can rarely use enough to make that difference…

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