Chicken with Mesclun Salad and Passion Fruit Vinaigrette

Thanks to a climate that's both tropical and temperate, Kenya grows an impressive range of produce, including the passion fruit, oranges, limes and delicate greens in this dish. Chef Hubert Des Marais squeezes aromatic wild limes into the tangy marinade; kaffir or key limes can be used instead. He gets his birds from Peter De Mello, a big-game hunter turned organic chicken farmer.

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  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4
  • Time(Other): Plus overnight marinating

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marinated chicken
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh passion fruit pulp (from 4 fruits) or passion fruit puree (see Note)
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 skin-on boneless chicken breast halves, preferably with the wing attached (airline cut)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh passion fruit pulp or passion fruit puree
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 Thai red chile, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  • 4 cups packed mesclun (4 ounces)

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large bowl, combine the lime juice, orange juice, passion fruit, garlic, basil, ginger, thyme, rosemary, the 1 tablespoon of pepper and 2 teaspoons of salt, blending well to dissolve the salt. Add the chicken to the marinade and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

  2. Preheat the oven to 400°. Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. In a large, ovenproof nonstick skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the skillet, skin side down. Cook over moderately high heat until browned, 3 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook for 1 minute. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 10 minutes, until just cooked. Let rest for 5 minutes.

  3. In a small saucepan, boil the orange juice over high heat until it reduces to 2 tablespoons, about 12 minutes. Pour the reduced orange juice into a small bowl and let cool. Stir in the lime juice, passion fruit pulp, shallot, chile, ginger and honey. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified and season with salt and pepper. Mix in the chives and basil.

  4. Toss the mesclun with 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette and mound it on 4 plates. Place a chicken breast on each plate and drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette. Serve right away.


Passion fruit puree is available frozen from

Suggested Pairing

Tropical-scented Sauvignon Blanc: 2009 Geyser Peak.

Contributed By Photo © Lisa Linder Published November 2010

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