Persimmon, labne and paprika chicken salad

Persimmons have an incredible colour

Persimmons have an incredible colour

I created this salad to showcase the season’s persimmons and is bursting with amazing produce from the Capital Region Farmers Market. This year is the first time I’ve eaten persimmons and I think they’re fabulous. The colour is amazing! I’ve been getting the non-astringent kind, from Torry Hill Orchards, that are good to eat when firm and crisp. I have not tried the soft, astringent kind. I thought I could make a warm chicken salad with wedges of persimmon and pieces of paprika coated, pan fried chicken breast, but I knew something was missing. I have been wanting to buy a bottle of Rosa’s ‘yoghurt balls’ for more than a year now. They have an inspiring freshness, and great creaminess. We were chatting with her last weekend when I realised this is exactly what was needed in my salad. Indeed, the tanginess of the labne perfectly complements the sweetness of the persimmon, and the creaminess pairs perfectly with the paprika chicken.

Some baby spinach leaves bought the whole thing together in a salad-y way. La Barre recently made an olive oil that is uniquely fresh, cloudy with fruity particles from the first press of the season. It’s called ‘Novello.’ It’s amazing but won’t last as long as other oils. It was the perfect dressing for this salad, with a little fresh lemon juice.

Serves 2

1 free range chicken breast
1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika or cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon butter or oil for cooking
2 persimmons
1/2 cup baby spinach
6 labne balls
1 teaspoon ‘Novello’ or other intensely fresh and fruity olive oil
1/2 lemon, juice of

Rub the chicken breast with the paprika and a little oil. Marinade as desired. Melt the butter in a small pan over a medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the chicken, skin side down and cook for 3-4 minutes till dark and crisp and turn over, cooking till just done.  Remove from the pan and set aside to rest.

Cut the persimmon in half. It only has two seeds, if you hit those on the way down, try again ninety degrees around. Then cut into quarters. Remove the seeds and top then cut each quarter into four wedges. In a salad bowl, combine the spinach with the persimmon.

Cut the chicken into bit sized pieces and add to the salad bowl with a little lemon juice and olive oil.

Divide the salad between serving plates and arrange the labne on top. Dress with the remaining olive oil and lemon juice. Enjoy!

Persimmon, labne and paprika chicken salad

Persimmon, labne and paprika chicken salad

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