Warm Chicken and Spinach Salad Picadillo With Raisins, Olives and Fig Balsamic Vinegar 4.000
Jul 12, 2006

The sweet-sour dressing can be made with plain balsamic vinegar and a touch of honey. But if you're willing to be patient, Fig Balsamic Vinegar adds a deeper flavor. For leftover dressing (which will keep, covered and refrigerated, for 2 months), try drizzling it over roasted asparagus or spooning it over ice cream; the infused figs (good for 1 month, refrigerated) can be wrapped in pancetta and grilled.

Servings: 4 large servings
  • For the Fig Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 pound dried black figs
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split
  • 1 1/4 cups balsamic vinegar, or more as needed
  • 1 orange, quartered (leave the peel on)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • For the chicken
  • 2 tablespoons fig balsamic vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 (20 to 24 ounces) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • For the salad
  • 1/2 cup fig balsamic vinegar (may substitute 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon honey)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch spinach, stemmed
  • 1 cup large green olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 cup seedless raisins or dried currants
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted and coarsely chopped (optional)*

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For the Fig Balsamic Vinegar: In a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium to medium-low heat, add the figs, water and vanilla bean. When bubbles just begin to break the surface, reduce the heat to low and cook for about 1 hour, until the mixture becomes syrupy. Add the vinegar, oranges and honey and increase the heat to medium to medium-high. When it just starts to boil, turn off the heat and let stand. When cool, pour into a large glass bowl, cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days.

Strain the mixture through a colander into a stainless steel or glass container, discarding the orange pieces and vanilla bean and reserving the figs, if desired, for other uses. If the vinegar seems sweet, add a couple more tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.

For the chicken: In a resealable plastic food storage bag, combine the Fig Balsamic Vinegar, the oil, salt and chicken. Press out as much air as possible, seal the bag and knead gently to coat the chicken. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

To cook the chicken, if using a gas grill, preheat the grill to medium; if using a charcoal grill, start the charcoal or wood briquettes and when the briquettes are ready, distribute them evenly under the cooking area for direct heat. Oil the grate. Grill the chicken until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. (Alternatively, the chicken can be cooked in a skillet.) Set aside.

For the salad: In a small bowl, combine the Fig Balsamic Vinegar, oil and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the spinach, olives, raisins or currants, onion, tomatoes and roasted red bell pepper, if desired, and mix. Cut the chicken into thin strips or chunks and add to the salad along with any accumulated cooking juices. Add the dressing and toss to coat lightly. Serve immediately.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Baja: Cooking on the Edge," by Deborah M. Schneider (Rodale, 2006, $27.95).

Tested by Marcia Kramer.

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