Chicken With Fennel Salad

Quentin Bacon

Quick, vibrant, and infinitely variable, this will join your repertoire of go-to weeknight dinners. Serve it with a whole-grain pita or other flat bread, or even tortillas. It’s also good with plain rice or any other grain, or served on a bed of crisp greens.

Makes: 4 servings
Time: 20 to 30 minutes


  • 1 fennel bulb, halved and thinly sliced

  • 3 oranges, peeled, seeded if necessary, and chopped

  • 1 small red onion, chopped

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, or 1 teaspoon dried

  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts, thighs, or tenders

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon pepper


1. Prepare a grill or turn on the broiler; put the rack 4 inches from the heat source. Combine the fennel, oranges, onion, 2 tablespoons olive oil, the dill, and half the salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Let marinate, stirring once or twice while you cook the chicken.

2. Rub or brush the chicken with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. When the grill or broiler is hot, put the chicken pieces directly on the grates or on a rimmed baking sheet under the broiler and cook, turning once, until browned and just cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side for breasts. (Figure 1 minute less per side for tenders and up to 5 minutes more per side for thighs.)

3. Taste and adjust the seasoning on the salad, and slice the chicken pieces as you like. Serve the chicken on top of a big scoop of the salad (or just toss everything all together).

Chicken Cutlets with Celery and Watermelon Salad

Only the salad changes. Use the center of the celery, including the leaves, instead of the fennel—you want about 2 cups chopped. Substitute 4 cups diced watermelon for the oranges and ¼ cup fresh mint for the dill. Cook the chicken as in the original recipe.

Pork Medallions with Fennel and Apple Salad

Perfect with the season’s first apples. Swap 1 pound pork tenderloin for the chicken; cut it crosswise into ¾-inch slices. Keep the fennel but try chopped apples instead of the oranges. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice to the salad in step 1.

More ideas

Other vegetables to try include radishes, kohlrabi, sunchokes, celery root, or carrots. Other fruits to try are grapefruit, peaches, nectarines, plums, blackberries or strawberries, mango, papaya, pineapple, pears, figs, or any small citrus, like clementines or tangerines. If the fruit isn’t very juicy, add some lemon or lime juice. I often like to turn things upside down and make the bed-of-something into the topping. Try putting the meat on the plate first and spooning the salad on top. You might really like it.

Recipe from The VB6 Cookbook (Photo: Quentin Bacon)