Insalata di Pollo col Melograno
Serves 6 to 8 people
At a restaurant called Il Giardino in the town of San Lorenzo del Campo, on the central Italian Adriatic coast, I savored a capon salad in which the tanginess of pomegranate, the sweetness of pine nuts and raisins, and the saltiness of Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings created a symphony of contrasting flavors. The final touch was a dressing made with an olive oil from Cartoceto, a small medieval town about six miles inland known for producing outstanding oil. This recipe calls for chicken, but if you can make it with capon, it will give the dish a richer flavor.
35 minutes from start to finish
1/4 cup raisins, preferably golden
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup pomegranate seeds
(from about 2 pomegranates),
or 1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup pine nuts
Freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings,
cut with a vegetable peeler
1. Soak the raisins (and cranberries if using) in enough cold water to cover in a bowl.
2. Fill a pot large enough to accommodate the chicken with water; and place it over high heat. When the water is boiling, put in the chicken and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness. To test for doneness, make a small cut in the thickest part of the breast. The flesh should be white and the juices should be clear. When the chicken is done, remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool. Keeping the chicken in the cooking water prevents it from drying out.
3. Slice the chicken into bite-size pieces and place them in the bowl you plan to serve the salad in. Lift the raisins (and cranberries if using) out of the water and gently squeeze them. Add them to the bowl along with the pomegranate seeds and pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and toss until all the ingredients are well coated. Top with the Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings and serve.
Every Night Italian
By Giuliano Hazan
Scribner, January 2000
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created February 2000
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