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Mediterranean chicken salad with preserved lemons

I feel like a chicken and potato salad, what do you think? What about roasted chicken and potatoes, isn’t it better?

The thing is, Summer is here. I keep the windows open till late evening, I lose myself admiring the colours changing in the fields, ranging from green to a pale golden yellow. Our vegetable garden is giving us the first fresh produce, especially salad and tender courgettes. How can you make a roast chicken now, when it smells of winter Sundays, warm and cozy kitchens and rich and buttery aromas?

Com’on, I will make a chicken and potato salad. You’ll love it…

Mediterranean chicken salad with preserved lemons
(Virginia Casa -Battello Pot and Plate by dishesonly)

I would usually make a chicken salad with some leftover roast chicken, something which is already extremely flavourful. I shred the meat and add all the tasty bits to rice, lettuce, rocket, boiled potatoes… it’s a way not to waste food and have three meals from a single chicken, as I told you some time ago here. You even feel more responsible and conscious.

This time I had just a chicken breast, one of those things you usually look at with a shade of sadness in your eyes, feeling almost put in a corner by diet purposes. Yet with some tricks even a boiled chicken breast can give us enormous satisfaction and become a summer dish which is also fresh and tempting.

Mediterranean chicken salad with preserved lemons

First thing, you’d better to cook the whole chicken breast. Use all the aromas you would add to make a great broth: onion, tomato, carrot, celery, which in Italy are known on the whole as odori. If you like it, you can even add a clove, pierced into your halved onion, which will assure a penetrating and spiced smell to your broth.

The second trick is related to a good timing. If you want a tasty meat, you have to season the chicken breast as soon as you remove it from the broth, when it is still hot. Slice the chicken and marinate it with capers, parsley, extra virgin olive oil and lemon. Instead of using lemon zest or lemon juice I opted for some home-made preserved lemons, which I made a few months ago: a total surprise.

They are intensely salty and sour, they tickle your appetite and add a kick to any salad, from a wholesome one with brown rice to a fresh one with lettuce or cheese. They have already become my obsession ingredient for this summer, I will have to restrain myself from adding them to fruit salads.

Insalata di pollo - Chicken salad

Mediterranean chicken salad with preserved lemons

It’s interesting to use what is left from cooking the chicken breast: it’s not an intensely tasty broth as the one you could have with leftover roast chicken, but it’s a light broth that you use to cook a flavourful risotto or a summer vegetable soup. You don’t waste food, but you recycle it, reinventing new recipes.

Mediterranean chicken salad with preserved lemons

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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4


  • 8 new potatoes
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 to mato
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ chicken breast, about 500 g
  • 3 tablespoons of salted capers
  • ½ lemon confit - lemon preserved in salt
  • 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 2 bunches of salad
  • A dozen radishes
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  • Fill a medium-sized pot of water. Add salt, a tomato cut in half, a stalk of celery, a carrot, an onion and a teaspoon of salt. When it reaches a rocking boil add the chicken breast and simmer over medium heat until cooked through. It will take about 40 minutes.
  • Meanwhile bring to the boil another pot to cook the potatoes: boil them whole, without peeling them, until they can be pierced easily with a fork. Drain the potatoes and pass them under cold water to peel them more easily, then slice them.
  • Prepare the marinade by blending or chopping with a knife parsley, rinsed capers, extra virgin olive oil and lemon confit.
  • Drain the chicken breast: do not throw the broth, you can filter it and put it in the freezer and use it when you'll need it. Cut it into thin slices, or shred it with a fork.
  • Drizzle the marinade over the still hot chicken and allow it some time to gain more flavour. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile prepare the salad: wash the salad, squeeze the excess water and cut it, then put it in a large bowl. Add the sliced ​​radishes, the sliced potatoes, the chicken with all the marinade and stir to mix. Leave the salad in the fridge for at least an hour, then serve it with extra marinade.
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Mediterranean chicken salad with preserved lemons

Link Love

  • Here you can find a blog post on vinsanto roasted chicken, with two recipes for a broth and a chicken salad with an Autumn appeal.
  • Here I mentioned my preserved lemons: now that I finally tried them I can surely affirm that chicken is one of the best pairings. As soon as the temperatures will drop again I will use preserved lemons also for the chicken stuffing.
  • As you can see from the beautiful props I used, I have a new help in the kitchen, the beautiful Italian dinnerware by dishesonly, have a look at their incredible collection!

Lemons preserved in salt became my secret ingredient for a chicken salad to remember. Which is your secret ingredient?

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