Chicken and Rice Salad with Pine Nuts and Lemon

We like to serve this Mediterranean-inspired salad warm, but it's also good slightly chilled. Be sure to check the seasonings, though; cold dishes often need more salt and pepper than those served hot.

  • Servings: 4

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  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
  • Salt
  • Fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen petite peas
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 1 1/3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 4)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 6 scallions including green tops, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

How to make this recipe

  1. In a small frying pan, toast the pine nuts over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until they are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Or toast the pine nuts in a 350° oven for about 8 minutes.

  2. In a small glass or stainless-steel bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the oil slowly, whisking.

  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the peas; cook until just barely tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or a strainer, transfer to a large bowl. Add the rice to the water and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, return to the pot, and cover to keep warm.

  4. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, bring 1/4 inch of water to a simmer over moderately high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer, turning once, until cooked through, about 12 minutes. Remove the chicken, let cool slightly, and then cut into approximately 1/2-inch chunks.

  5. Add the pine nuts, rice, chicken, raisins, scallions, parsley, lemon zest, and dressing to the large bowl and stir gently to mix.

Suggested Pairing

The ingredients may call to mind the Mediterranean, but this salad will really sing with a dry Riesling from Alsace in northern France. The wine's cleansing acidity and delicate taste of citrus and peach will both mirror and contrast the flavors and textures here perfectly.

Photo © Iain Bagwell. Food styling by Simon Andrews. Published October 2014

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