My daughter had been pleading to spend the day at the horse barn for months, to ride additional horses, for a longer time, to help out with the chores, and just to be out in the country with the large array of animals.
The perfect Saturday presented itself, and as part of the preparations for the day, I offered to pack her trainer a lunch, as she would be with my daughter and several other students for hours. I made this Moroccan Chicken Salad with Apricots and Almonds, however my daughter wanted to make her own lunch – a peanut butter, banana and marshmallow sandwich – both eatables offered wonderful bursts of flavor and an incredible combination of tastes.
MOROCCAN CHICKEN SALAD WITH APRICOTS AND ALMONDS
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil, divided use
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
pinch of smoked paprika
1/4 cup lemon juice, divided use
1 tablespoon honey
1 (14-ounce) can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 shallot, finely chopped
3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
4 ounces sprouts
1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and brown well, 6 to 8 minutes, turn and cook 5 to 7 minutes more, or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let cool slightly, then slice 1/2 inch thick on the bias. Cool to room temperature.
While chicken cools, combine 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, garam masala, coriander and paprika in a small saucepan. Cook until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, honey, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Whisking constantly, drizzle in remaining oil.
In a large bowl, combine the cooled chicken, chickpeas, shallot, apricots, parsley and half of the dressing and toss to coat. Cover.
Whisk remaining tablespoon of lemon juice into the remaining dressing, toss with the lettuce, sprouts and almonds.
Arrange lettuce and chicken mixture on serving platter.
Recipe adapted from The Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette, April 2015