Orange Marinated Chicken Breasts
and Roasted Yellow Beet Salad
Both components of this dish use oranges and mint. This may seem to be too redundant,
but their flavors come through in a very different way in each component and play off each
other comfortably in the final dish. The addition of feta cheese and purple onions to the
beets makes a feta-ching combination. We made this dish in the dead of winter in San
Francisco on a stormy, rainy day in early February. The bright flavors and colors made us
feel like spring was coming. . .
Put the following ingredients into a food processor:
Process all of the above ingredients until the mint leaves are finely chopped.
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and the sprout removed
Zest and juice of 1 large Valencia orange
Handful of fresh mint leaves
Sea salt and white pepper, to taste
- Bone and remove skin from 2 whole chicken breasts. Cut each in half to make 4 pieces.
Slather the processed mint mixture over the prepared chicken breasts on both sides and
refrigerate covered with plastic wrap for 8 hours or longer if time permits. (Starting the
marinating Saturday afternoon would be best.)
2-3 large yellow beets
3 blood oranges
8 small purple onions (the size of small white boiling
1 Valencia orange (for zest and juice)
White wine vinegar
- Put the whole yellow beets in a shallow, ceramic roasting pan and
add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at
350 deg. for about 45 minutes, or longer depending on the size of the beet. (The beets are
ready when they are slightly soft, but still firm.) Remove from the oven; remove foil and
let the beets cool. When cool, peel and cut into 1/2" cubes (or whatever small shape
suits your fancy).
- Peel the blood oranges. First cut them crosswise into 1/4" thick slices, then cut
each slice into 6 wedges.
Assembling Sunday Supper:
- Put the beets, onions and oranges in a large salad bowl and crumble the feta cheese over
the mixture. Zest the orange over it. Mix together lightly.
- Make the dressing using the juice of the orange, olive oil and white wine vinegar. Salt
and pepper to taste and mix with the salad. Garnish the salad with sprigs of frisee
lettuce (or escarole) and a few fresh mint leaves, julienned.
- Grill the chicken breasts on mesquite or in your broiler. After cooking, let them rest
for a few minutes to allow the juices to retract. Then slice them on the diagonal.
- Put a serving of beet salad with lettuce and mint garnish into your bouillabaisse bowl.
Arrange chicken slices on the side.
- Cut a few wedges of warm focaccia and arrange around the bowl.
Small purple onions: If these are not
available, use 1 medium-sized purple onion. Don't substitute small white onions for purple
ones. The dish needs purple to give it a spectrum of color to compliment the yellow of the
beets and the red of the blood oranges.
Beets: Roasting beets instead of boiling them
brings out their hidden sweetness. Boiling often brings out an undesirable earthy flavor
that makes many people shy away from eating beets. A roasted beet has a delicate, sweet
flavor that will fool even the most die-hard beet-hater.
Half-moon slices: To make half-moon
- Hold the onion with the root end on your cutting surface.
- Place the point of the knife at the center of the top. Slice down from top to bottom.
- Rotate the onion to make the next slice and continue in this way, using the top center
of the onion as your pivot point. You should get about 10 - 12 thin slices from a small
- If your onions are a little old and have a green core, slice around it and discard the
If you're using a regular medium-sized purple onion, you should first cut the onion in
half (crosswise) and then proceed to cut each half into half-moon slices. You should get
about 20-25 thin half-moon slices from each half of a medium-sized onion.