In the mood Mediterranean flavors, I adapted this recipe from the original by Paulette Sexton of Tustin, CA. This was a big hit at a recent dinner gathering. The flavors are fresh and the tomatoes and artichoke hearts add a juiciness in every bite! The dressing is a little bit tangy too and it's all stabilized by the orzo and chicken. Next time I would like to add some hearts of palm and toasted pine nuts to this!
Mediterranean Chicken Salad
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped tarragon leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Diced cooked chicken
1 cup orzo (the rice shaped pasta)
2 cups halved grape tomatoes
1 1/2 cups marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives (I actually bought pitted Kalamata olives and the first two I cut had the pits in them!)
3 tablespoons drained capers
Chopped Italian parsley for garnish
1. Combine the first five ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine; season with pepper. Taste and add more tarragon or lemon if needed. Place the chicken in a medium bowl and pour 1/2 cup of the dressing over it and mix to evenly coat.
2. Cook the orzo in a large bowl of boiling water until it is at desired tenderness. Orzo cooks very quickly when the water is boiling. Then drain and rinse it under cold water, letting all the excess water drain. Put the orzo in a large non-reactive bowl (preferably a glass bowl).
3. Stir in the remaining dressing to the orzo and mix well. Then add the chicken, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives and capers. Season the salad with some parsley or cilantro and enjoy!