Lemon Pepper Cured Chicken with Fennel Salad — The Weekender

By: Marisa McClellan
Related To:

When I was a young reader, one of my favorite series of books was the one by Maud Hart Lovelace. It featured the characters Betsy, Tacy and Tib in the early days of the 20th century. The books started when the girls were just 5 years old and went straight through to the early days of their respective marriages.

In those later books, Tacy tells Betsy that she should have a "company meal" to avoid stress when having friends over for dinner. While much about this series might be seen as charmingly dated, I actually think that the concept of a well-practiced and delicious meal designed for sharing is a good one.

During the winter months, my personal company meal features chicken and ricotta meatballs, braised kale and some cheesy polenta. Either I ask my dinner companions to pick up something for dessert or I bake off some of the cookie dough I keep in my freezer.

It's a very nice meal, but is too darn heavy for the warmer, humid weather we've been having lately. Happily, I think I've found the perfect recipe for this summer. It's Rachael Ray's Lemon Pepper Cured Chicken with Fennel Salad.

The chicken is marinated overnight in the fridge and can be cooked off on a grill to keep the kitchen cool. The salad is a quick combination of shaved fennel, arugula, celery leaves and parsley. It's simple, cooling and perfect for The Weekender.

Before you start cooking, read these tips:

— Rachael gives you several different cooking options for the chicken. I like to do it on my countertop electric grill, because it heats quickly and doesn’t heat up the kitchen.

— I love the flavor of fennel. If it doesn’t float your boat, however, replace it with some shredded cabbage instead. You get all the crunch without the licorice flavor.

— On its own this salad is a great addition to any summertime potluck, because it's sturdy and is dressed with a simple vinaigrette (no need to worry about mayo going off). Try it with a turkey burger at your next cookout.

Marisa McClellan is a food writer and canning teacher who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her food (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars. Her second cookbook, Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces, is now available.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Garlic, Lemon and Herb Rubbed Chicken — Weekend Cookout

This weekend, we're ditching the barbecue sauce and marinating chicken in fresh herbs, garlic and lemon juice.

Ina’s Baked Lemon Chicken — Most Popular Pin of the Week

Impress your family with these flavor-packed chicken breasts from Ina Garten.

Spotlight Recipes: Chicken Tonight

You can't go wrong with chicken for a simple weeknight meal. Here are a few tried-and-true chicken recipes from Ellie Krieger -- all of which come in under 400 calories and 15 grams of fat per serving.

Giada's Chicken Saltimbocca — Most Popular Pin of the Week

Upgrade your chicken dinner routine with Giada's prosciutto-filled chicken rollups.

Top Recipes, Lightened Up: Alton’s Fried Chicken

When I taught at a culinary school, the chef’s motto was “fat equals flavor.” Unfortunately, the wrong kinds of fat can also means a bigger waistline along with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Save the real deal for a once in a while treat and try some slimming ways to cook up Alton’s famous chicken.

Sticky, Saucy Chicken Wings — Football Fare

Check out Food Network's top chicken wing recipes and serve these sticky, saucy beauties at your weekend tailgate or big game bash.

How to Turn 1 Roasted Chicken Into 3 Family Dinners

One mom shares her trick for turning an everyday roast chicken into three comforting family dinners.