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Sep 15, 2015
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WINE WITH…Fattoush with Rotisserie Chicken

It was one of those busy days. Not much time to think about dinner until we got to the market late in the day, but when we walked by the rotisserie chickens and breathed in their mouth-watering aromas…we knew our problem was solved. Into the basket went one of the birds, along with a bunch of arugula and some pita breads. While we waited in the checkout line, we had time to consider the pleasures of the ubiquitous rotisserie chicken. Okay, maybe this supermarket staple falls short of your own beautifully prepared home-roasted chicken, but commercial rotisserie chickens are generally very tasty, very affordable, a lot more nutritious than many items in the prepared foods section of the market, and a great boon to busy, working individuals or families. Another plus: If you haven’t put one to the test recently, you may be surprised to rediscover what a remarkably versatile and delicious companion to wine rotisserie chicken can be.

This recipe is a variation on fattoush, the traditional Lebanese warm bread salad.

You can add other sturdy salad greens such as frisée, escarole and/or radicchio to the arugula.

Fattoush With Rotisserie Chicken

4 servings

1 rotisserie chicken
2 large or 4 small pita breads
1/2 cup olive oil
Ground sumac (optional)
1 clove minced garlic
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced mint
2 tablespoons minced parsley
Salt and pepper
6 cups arugula
¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

Preheat the oven to 350°

Remove the chicken flesh from the bones and tear or cut it into bite size pieces (discard the skin, or leave it on if you prefer). Place the chicken pieces in a large salad bowl.

Brush both sides of the pita breads with some of the oil. Dust them with sumac if you are using it. Place the pitas on a baking sheet and toast in a pre-heated oven for about five minutes, or until they are crisp. Tear them into bite size pieces and add to the chicken.

Whisk together the olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. Add the mint and parsley, season with salt and pepper, and taste, adding more lemon juice or a drizzle of olive oil if necessary. Pour the mixture over the bread and chicken, add the arugula and toss the mixture thoroughly. Add the pine nuts, and sprinkle a little more sumac over the salad if desired.

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A very versatile one dish meal, this quick, easy to prepare chicken salad pairs equally well with white and red wines. But be careful--delicate whites, like the Grüner Veltliner we tried, will lose their nuanced subtlety, while aggressive reds, like an Argentinean Bonarda, will overwhelm the flavors of the food. Instead, look for rich whites and medium-weight reds, and stay away from wines that display notable sweetness.

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Questions or comments? Contact us at Talkofthevine@gmail.com

Selection

Approx. Price

Comments

Les Charmes, Burgundy (France) Mâcon-Lugny Chardonnay 2013

(Imported by Pasternak)

$13

A very satisfying match, the juicy chicken and dry but very flavorful wine meshed extremely well. The autumnal fruit flavors in the Mâcon enhanced the succulent character of the chicken.

Les Dauphins, Côtes du Rhône Reserve (France) Rouge 2013

(Imported by Monsieur Touton)

$13

A relatively light Rhône blend, this peppery red added depth to the dish, bringing out its earthy elements. The equally peppery arugula loved it.

Maison Nicolas Perrin, Vin de France Ardèche (France) Viognier 2013

(Imported by Vineyard Brands)

$12

A rich, fleshy white, this Viognier’s texture echoed the breast meat from the chicken, while at the same time its peachy flavors and seductive floral bouquet gave the dish a touch of class.

Pieropan, Soave (Italy) Classico 2013

(Imported by Empson USA)

$18

Though light in body, this wine is very flavorful, being full of stone fruit flavors with a nutty finish. That cornucopia of tastes is what enabled it to pair so well with this dish.

Las Rocas, Calatayud (Spain) Garnacha 2012

(Imported by Las Rocas USA)

$14

A medium-weight red, marked by ripe fruit and soft but pliable tannins, this wine made the dish seem heftier than it did when paired with the whites. It made for a delicious match, one that will be especially attractive on a cool, even cold fall or winter evening