Summer-proof Mediterranean Chicken with Tahini Salad
Nothing screams summer more than this Mediterranean chicken breast, not if you pair it with our refreshing salad and oh-so-good tahini dressing. The recipe for the chicken is the same one we used for the Mediterranean Chicken with Spiced Veggies, but we made it summer-proof for when the temperature is rising.
Now, I’m very aware that turning the oven on might be the last thing you want to do when it’s hot, but if you cook enough chicken the night before, you have two meals in one and you save so much time. Or if you don’t want to even think about it, just cook it in a pan. Make sure to pound it so that it’s even and it takes less time to cook!
As for last time, a note on the za’atar: you can buy it quite easily, but you can make it at home in less than 5 minutes. Scroll down to the end of the page for our own recipe.
Summer-proof Mediterranean Chicken and Tahini Salad
For the chicken
- 500 gr chicken breast
- 2 eggs (whisked)
- 2 tbsp cold water
- 1 and 1/2 cup plain flour
- 3 tbsp za'atar (see notes after recipe)
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
For the Salad Dressing
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 2 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp honey
For the Salad
- 1 head lettuce
- 15 cherry tomatoes (or whichever type of tomatoes you like)
- 5 radishes (sliced)
- 1 cucumber
- 10 crushed almonds
For the chicken
- Start heating your oven up to 180°C/355°F fan. If you're using breasts, you might want to tenderise the chicken to make them even.
- Whisk your eggs with the cold water in a bowl. Prepare a separate bowl for the flour and another one for the breadcrumbs, za'atar, salt and pepper mixed together.
- Start by dipping your chicken in the egg wash, followed by the flour, and finally the breadcrumb/spices mix.
- Place on your oven mat/baking paper and add a bit of extra za'atar on top and cook for 25 to 30 minutes.
For the Salad Dressing
- Whisk together the tahini, honey, mustard and adjust with salt and pepper to taste. Put in a squeeze bottle if you have one and keep in the fridge for up to a week.
For the Salad
- Wash and cut up all your veggies (salad, tomatoes, radishes, cucumber).
- Crush the almonds and add to the veggies.
- Dress and serve.
Summer recipes, tahini dressing, and Mediterranean food
If you want to explore the marvelous world of Mediterranean food, you have to go deep into Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes. I genuinely like him as if he was my friend, I follow him on social media and every single time he releases a new cookbook, I feel the impulse to buy it straight away.
His recipes are easy and straightforward, rarely require obscure ingredients, and are for the most part very healthy. If you’re a vegetarian, he has a ton of recipes that are excellent without any meat, and he actually recently published a vegeterian-only cookbook. I’m sure you can buy it even if you’re a meat-eater like us, don’t worry.
After discovering Ottolenghi, I started going back to those flavours that are so similar to the ones I grew up with (oregano, thyme, rosemary) and mixing them with more Eastern ones (tahini, sumac) and I must say this is hands down my favourite type of cuisine for day-to-day cooking. By relying on spices and light dressing, you save tons of time and you can mix and match in the same way we did with this breaded chicken, which was originally meant to be a Chicken with Spiced Veggies and ended up becoming our lunch as well.
Last but not least: tahini. I remember buying a jar of tahini when I first moved to London and ended up giving it to my flatmate at the time, still sealed. I had absolutely no clue how to use it. Little did I know that tahini is not just limited to hummus making, but it can go in baking goods as well (I’m still dreaming of a tahini blondie that I had at Saint Espresso in London years ago, I’m not sure if they still make it but if you’re in the area I would definitely pay them a visit to try it).
Mediterranean food, and I’m not afraid to say it, is the best kind of food, and when it meets Middle-Eastern flavours, well, nothing can beat that. It’s fresh, filling, packed with flavours, healthy, made to be shared. How could anyone say anything bad about it?
Not another paragraph about za’atar seasoning
And yet. I promise you, once you get into the za’atar world you’ll never come back. I personally went from “I don’t quite know how to use this” to making that twice in a month because I ran out too quickly.
Za’atar Seasoning – how to:
- 2 tablespoons of dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons of sumac (or if you don’t have it, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of lemon zest)
- 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon of marjoram
- 1 1/2 tablespoon of thyme
Toast the sesame seeds in a hot pan over medium-high heat for 2-3 mins or until they become slightly golden, tossing every minute or so to ensure they don’t burn. Once toasted, add the mix of dried herbs. Here you go. You have homemade za’atar mix. Store it in an airtight container for up to a month.
You can use za’atar in pretty much everything. It does have a herby, lemony flavour that makes it the perfect seasoning for most vegetables. If you’re a courgette lover, I’d definitely recommend covering them in za’atar and grilling them: one of the easiest, tastiest, and healthiest ways to use za’atar.