Spring Chicken, dressed in Green

The weather has gotten warmer and there is a bounce in my step. I want to eat foods that are vibrant and bright – bursting with flavor and excitement.

And then it came to me, like a vision – what to do with the spinach.

Thoughts of spinach and citrus and chicken floated in my head and then came into focus all assembled and beautiful. Somehow, when I tried to create the vision in my head, it didn’t come out quite so attractive. I need to work on the plating and visual appeal. Fortunately, it scored in the taste department. I have always said that I’d rather eat something tasty and ugly than beautiful and flavorless.

So I present to you a tasty chicken-spinach-citrus dinner. A side dish of a spinach and citrus (or other fruit) salad with this dressing would also be divine. There’s something amazing about the way the tang of the citrus combines with the soothing greenness of the dressing.

italian spinach dressing

Citrus Poached Chicken
2 large chicken breasts
8-10 cups water, to cover chicken by 1/2 inch
1 tsp salt
Juice and flesh of 1/2 orange
1/4 tsp. saffron
zest of 1 orange
1/2 onion, quartered
1 clove garlic

1. Rinse and clean chicken breasts, removing any large fatty bits. This might be the first time in my life that I’ve ever worked with raw chicken breasts. They’re slimy.
2. Put chicken in medium size pot.
3. Cover chicken with water by about 1/2 inch.
4. Add orange juice, flesh and zest, saffron, onion, garlic, salt.
5. Heat pan and bring water to just under a simmer. There will be some small bubbles forming but it should not be a full simmer and definitely should not reach a boil.
poaching chicken
6. Cook at just under a simmer for 5 minutes.
7. Cover and turn off heat.
8. Let sit covered for 30 minutes. The heat of the water will cook the chicken.
9. If your chicken is larger, it might need additional time.

Meanwhile, prepare the salad…

Citrus Salad
1 navel orange
1 red grapefruit
1 cava cava orange or blood orange
greens/spinach optional

1. Peel orange and separate into sections.
2. Cut sections into pieces.
3. Cut peel and pith away from grapefruit.
4. Cut grapefruit into round slices.
5. Wash and prepare salad greens.
6. Combine all ingredients.

And now for the finishing touches…

Italian Spinach Dressing
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 -2 c. washed, packed spinach
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 oregano
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
pepper to taste
1 small clove garlic (optional)

1. Blend all ingredients in cuisinart or blender until smooth.

italian spinach dressing
2. Heat gently in saucepan or microwave until just warm.

Serve dressing over citrus salad. Or chicken. Or green salad. Or your favorite grain. Or anything you can think of to use as a vehicle for this dressing.

citrus poached chicken