Moroccan Chicken Salad

Moroccan Chicken Salad

This recipe is courtesy of Florence Fabricant, originally published in The New York Times. Photo is by Meredith Heuer.

"Just as a little saffron, garlic and paprika can conjure the flavors of Spain, so too will preserved lemons, cumin, mint and olives evoke Morocco. This salad and the accompanying couscous can be doubled or tripled to anchor a generous buffet. Both can be assembled a couple of hours in advance and set aside on a kitchen counter. Serve them at room temperature." — Florence Fabricant

Serves 4


  • skinless bone-in chicken thighs
  • teaspoons ground cumin
  • teaspoon hot Spanish paprika
  • teaspoon salt
  • tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup dry white wine
  • large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut in 2-by-½-inch strips
  • ½ cup thinly sliced onion
  • small zucchini, ends trimmed, quartered lengthwise and sliced ½-inch thick
  • 16 small pitted green olives
  • 1½ teaspoons harissa
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1½ teaspoons honey
  • ½ preserved lemon, flesh removed and peel minced
  • ¾ cup instant couscous
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves in chiffonade


Combine cumin, paprika and ½ teaspoon salt in a shallow bowl, and lightly coat chicken with spices. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a sauté pan. Sear chicken on medium-high about 90 seconds on the “skin” side, turn, add wine, reduce heat to very low, cover and braise 25 minutes. Remove chicken and juices to a clean bowl.

Add bell pepper and onion to the pan and sauté on low about 10 minutes, until softened. Add zucchini and olives and sauté until zucchini starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in harissa, lemon juice, honey and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Remove from heat.

Using your fingers and a paring knife, remove chicken from the bones and tear meat in strips. Place chicken and juices in a bowl, along with vegetable mixture from the sauté pan and preserved lemon peel. Toss ingredients together and set aside.

Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a 2-quart saucepan. Add couscous and remaining salt and stir over low heat 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in 1¼ cups boiling water, stir, cover and set aside 15 minutes. Uncover, fluff couscous with a fork, stir over low heat a few minutes to dry it, then fold in half the mint. Transfer chicken to a serving platter, scatter with remaining mint and serve with couscous in a bowl alongside, all at room temperature.