My new best salad

I am a sucker for love and salads. When I find a good one of either, I just want more of the same until I get tired of it. Sometimes there is just a certain combination of things that makes you hungry for more and then some, and until enough is enough it is awfully nice to be in the throws of keep-it-coming-don’t-stop.
Yesterday, there were only four ingredients in the kitchen, so I can’t take credit for putting them together because there was nothing else to do but put them together, and thank goodness, because I like it. There is a blend of wild and red rice that I get from the health food store that is light years better than just plain brown rice; even guilt can’t get me to eat plain brown rice anymore. I simmered the rice with a spill of my favorite olive oil, a bay leaf, a sprig of thyme and some salt. When it was cooked, but still resistant, I drained it well, tossed it immediately with a little more olive oil, more salt, and some fresh lemon juice. Time can be everything. Warm rice is not going to soak up the flavors of your beautiful oil or the lemon in the same way, once it has cooled. I braised long peeled stems of broccoli with another drizzle of olive oil and some salt in the water, until it was still green and had a bit of a crunch, but cooked through. Toss that together with a seared chicken breast, (hot pan, drizzle of olive oil, season the chicken, lay it in there, and don’t touch it until it is beautifuly chestnut in ribbons on the pan side. Flip and finish.) Pull the chicken into shreds, or if you don’t do chicken, French feta, if you can find it, a little flat leaf Italian parsley, some nicoise olives, and slivers of red onion. I know I am stuck on the red onion lately. Finish with another drizzle of olive oil, another squeeze of lemon (or orange), salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Don’t worry about the amounts. Have the courage to count on yourself to tell you when it’s right. Get yourself to find that perfect balance between the oil, the lemon, the pepper and the salt. The point when you say YES, that is IT!!!, is it.

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