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Chicken Breasts with Lentil-Radish-Mint Salad

Peppery radishes and refreshing mint deliver bright spring flavors to healthful chicken breasts. A quick side dish of lentils dressed in the same dressing that sauces the chicken makes this a complete, protein-rich meal. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown lentils, picked over and rinsed  
  • 1 small red onion, cut in half 
  • 1 bay leaf  
  • 2 tsp. coarse kosher salt, plus more, to taste 
  • 1 tsp. plus 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar  
  • 2 large celery ribs, finely chopped 
  • 1 large bunch radishes, trimmed, quartered lengthwise and sliced 
  • 7 Tbs. minced fresh mint 
  • 3 Tbs. Dijon mustard  
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each about 6 oz.  
  • All-purpose flour for dredging 

Directions:

Put the lentils in a saucepan and add water to cover by 2 inches. Add 1/2 of the onion and the bay leaf and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, cover partially and simmer until the lentils are just tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the 2 tsp. salt and the 1 tsp. vinegar. Drain the lentils and transfer to a bowl. Remove and discard the 1/2 onion and bay leaf. Finely chop the remaining 1/2 onion. Stir the onion, celery, radishes and 3 Tbs. of the mint into the lentils. Set aside.

Put the mustard in a small bowl. Whisk in the 2 Tbs. vinegar. Gradually whisk in the 1/2 cup olive oil, then mix in the remaining 4 Tbs. mint. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. Set aside 3 Tbs. of the dressing to use as a sauce. Mix enough of the remaining dressing into the salad as needed, and season with salt and pepper.

Working with 1 chicken breast half at a time, place on a sheet of waxed paper and cover with a second sheet of waxed paper. Using a rolling pin, pound the chicken a few times to flatten slightly to an even thickness. Transfer the chicken to a plate and season with salt and pepper. Spread the flour on another plate. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess. In 2 large nonstick fry pans over medium-high heat, warm 1 Tbs. olive oil in each. Add 2 chicken breast halves to each pan. Cook the chicken, turning once, until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and cut into slices. Arrange the chicken on warmed plates and spoon the lentil salad alongside. Drizzle the chicken with the reserved dressing and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Quick tips: The salad can be made one day ahead and chilled, or you can double it and serve the leftovers the next night. If you are cooking for two, make the entire recipe and use the leftover chicken in sandwiches.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Fresh & Fast, by Kristine Kidd (Williams-Sonoma, 2011).