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Paprika Za'atar Spiced Chicken with Summer Salad and Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Not exactly a snappy title but this is actually the much-edited, pared down version - the original title exceeded the title word limit! It's hard to convey the precise nature of some recipes in just a handful of words. This one is lemony and punchy with smoked paprika as well as Middle Eastern za'atar spice. It also works well on the barbecue, weather permitting, instead of baked in the oven.

Paprika Za'atar Spiced Chicken with Summer Salad and Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Serve alongside salad of choice but this quick Summer Salad I rustled up with a quick forage in the fridge, works very well. It combines sweet summer nectarines (could be substituted with peaches) set against creamy avocado, peppery watercress and crunchy fine beans (don't overcook them) and a light but zingy lemon, honey and poppy seed dressing.

PS The lemon is a special one - brought back as a memento from my sister's wedding where it served as a whimsical place setting. Such happy memories...

Paprika Za'atar Spiced Chicken with Summer Salad and Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free, Nut-free
Serves 2


2 skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tbsp za'atar spice blend (sesame seeds, sumac, thyme, oregano, basil, marjoram)
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
juice of 1/4 lemon

1 ripe nectarine, stoned and sliced
1/2 ripe avocado, stoned and sliced
50g fine green beans, trimmed and blanched briefly in boiling water
handful watercress per person
small bunch mint leaves

juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (ACV)
1 tbsp poppy seeds

1. Mix together za'atar, smoked paprika, black pepper, salt, sesame oil and juice of 1/4 lemon and marinade chicken in the mixture. Cover and transfer to fridge. Allow flavours to marinate for 30mins to an hour.
2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius, 356 degrees celsius. (Or fire up barbecue!)
3. Place chicken in ovenproof dish, in a single layer without overlapping, and bake in preheated oven for approx 30mins, or until chicken cooked through and not pink at thickest part.
4. Whisk together dressing ingredients, or shake together in a lidded jar. Set aside.
5. Assemble salad ingredients either on one large platter for sharing, or divide between two serving plates.
6. When chicken is ready, slice and arrange alongside or on top of the salad before drizzling over the dressing just before serving.