Moroccan Chicken Salad
Just as a little saffron, garlic and paprika can conjure the flavors of Spain, so too will preserved lemons, cumin, mint and olives evoke Morocco. This salad and the accompanying couscous can be doubled or tripled to anchor a generous buffet. Both can be assembled a couple of hours in advance and set aside on a kitchen counter. Serve them at room temperature.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 2teaspoons ground cumin
- 1teaspoon hot Spanish paprika
- 1teaspoon salt
- 6skinless bone-in chicken thighs
- 6tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓cup dry white wine
- 1large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut in 2-by-1/2-inch strips
- ½cup thinly sliced onion
- 2small zucchini, ends trimmed, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 16small pitted green olives
- 1 ½teaspoons harissa
- ¼cup lemon juice
- 1 ½teaspoons honey
- ½preserved lemon, flesh removed and peel minced
- ¾cup instant couscous
- ½cup fresh mint leaves in chiffonade
Step 1Combine cumin, paprika and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a shallow bowl, and lightly coat chicken with spices. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a sauté pan. Sear chicken on medium-high about 90 seconds on the “skin” side, turn, add wine, reduce heat to very low, cover and braise 25 minutes. Remove chicken and juices to a clean bowl.
Step 2Add bell pepper and onion to the pan and sauté on low about 10 minutes, until softened. Add zucchini and olives and sauté until zucchini starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in harissa, lemon juice, honey and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Remove from heat.
Step 3Using your fingers and a paring knife, remove chicken from the bones and tear meat in strips. Place chicken and juices in a bowl, along with vegetable mixture from the sauté pan and preserved lemon peel. Toss ingredients together and set aside.
Step 4Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a 2-quart saucepan. Add couscous and remaining salt and stir over low heat 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in 1 1/4 cups boiling water, stir, cover and set aside 15 minutes. Uncover, fluff couscous with a fork, stir over low heat a few minutes to dry it, then fold in half the mint. Transfer chicken to a serving platter, scatter with remaining mint and serve with couscous in a bowl alongside, all at room temperature.