Life is a bit cruel for a server. The juiciest, richest, most fragrant and colorful fruits are born at a time when I, on the other hand, become an amorphous, hypotensive and immobile mass. Apricots, medlars, brevas and peaches are just a few examples of the wide range of fruits available to us during those months when the sweltering heat sets in. The positive thing is that in times of restraint, we can incorporate them into the star dish par excellence: the salad.
When I talk about salads, my little eyes light up like fireflies illuminating a path of peace and safety in a dark forest. In general, they tick all the key points a summer meal must have: speed, simplicity, and versatility, and they can also bring together a variety of foods in a single dish. In this case, we’re using chicken as the base of our salad: poached, juicy and cold, accompanied by lots of cilantro and basil, loquat, feta cheese and the acidity and freshness of lime. Also, if you like: I personally find the jalapeño a particularly aromatic chilli and therefore goes perfectly with dishes of this style. The result is a fresh, fruity and aromatic dish that is easy to prepare.
In this salad, we can practically replace all the ingredients with things that you have more on hand: the shallots with purple onions; lime for lemon; Chicken for whatever protein you have in the fridge – beef, pork, tofu, etc. – although it’s always wise to have some poached breasts in the fridge or freezer for emergencies. Medlars can be swapped out for nectarines, for example, although finding a nice, ripe, juicy medlar feels like hitting the Holy Grail, so I encourage you to do some searching. In the end, the most important thing is to have a fresh citrus dish in which the sweetness of the seasonal fruit perfectly accompanies the protein base.
Strengthen ties with your nearest greengrocer so they can spare you the best medlars they have.
For 2 people
- 350g chicken breast
- 5 ripe medlars
- 40g feta cheese
- 15 g fresh coriander (stem and leaf)
- 10 large basil leaves
- 1 jalapeno
- 5 cherry tomatoes
- 2 shallots
- Zest and juice of 1 lime (or 1 small, juicy lemon)
- Half a teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
- ground black pepper to taste
- 1.5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Fill a saucepan with salted water and bring to a boil. Add the chicken breasts and reduce the heat to minimum (no bubbling). Cook with the lid on for between 15 and 20 minutes.
When chicken is done, place in very cold water with ice and refrigerate.
Peel the medlars and cut into six pieces, removing the epithelium from the heart. Chop the cilantro and basil. Slice the jalapeño, tomatoes and shallots.
Dry and shred the chicken. Mix with the ingredients we have prepared. Add lime zest and juice, crumbled feta cheese, salt, pepper and oil. Mix and serve.
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