08 January 2015

Happy New Year From the Virtual Supper Club !!!

A new year begins here at The Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club and what better way to celebrate than with small plates - tapas - mezze - hors d'oeuvres ! What ever you call them, they are the perfect way to eat lightly into the new year! A series of these small plate recipes would serve the host or hostess of a New Years celebration really well. The very nature of small plates culture is such that offerings are brought out for friends one or two at a time. There are drinks, usually beers or glasses of wine, and a few bites served up with plenty of conversation - the perfect way to party! This month we have created a spread of small servings and celebratory wines or cocktails to help bring in 2015 with true pizzazz.

I have chosen an old favorite tapas recipe that Silent Bob and I have enjoyed for most of the New Years Eve late night dinners that we've had here in the grey cottage. It's an easy and light chicken salad plate with parsley, pine nuts, and a light dressing that goes very well with a glass of sparkling wine or one of the light fruity wines from Galicia, a region in northern Spain. I chose an an Albarino wine - relatively inexpensive and a good sipping wine.

This is a simple salad to make and can be served warm from the pan or cool if you are serving it on a warm day. Either way, the dressing is sweet/sour and the pine nuts and raisins add a nice bit of chew along side the bits of chicken. Mix it up in a deep bowl so you can toss everything lightly and then plate it on a pretty little plate! Enjoy!

Chicken Raisin and Pine Nut Salad
a recipe from tapas-a culinary journey  of discovery

Serves 6 -8 as part of a tapas meal


¼ c. red wine vinegar
⅛ c. super fine sugar
1 bay  leaf
pared rind from one lemon
1 c. golden raisins
4 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts –about 1⅓ lbs.
5 tbsp. good quality olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 c. pine nuts
 a scant ⅓ c. more extra virgin olive oil with a nice light flavour
1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Making the Salad:

  1. Place the red wine vinegar, sugar, bayleaf, and lemon rind pieces in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the raisins to the mixture, and stir to get them coated with the dressing. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Cut the chicken breasts (across the grain of the meat) into thin strips.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a heavy fry pan. When the oil is hot, add the chicken strips and push them into one layer. Let them fry until golden and starting to brown on one side. Flip them with tongs and repeat.
  4. Remove from the heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a clean deep salad bowl.
  5. Return the pan to the heat and add the garlic and pinenuts, tossing to toast the garlic and brown up the pine nuts. Scrape any bits up as you toss the nuts and garlic around the pan. Use a slotted spoon to get the nuts and garlic gathered up.
  6. Toss the nuts and garlic in on top of the chicken.
  7. Season with Kosher salt and black pepper.
  8. Pour the dressing and raisins over top the chicken, add the chopped parsley and lightly toss the salad together.
  9. Drizzle the last scant ⅓ c. of olive oil a bit at a time, tossing to mix. Taste in between additions of oil to get the right final feel to the dressing.
  10. Serve warm with a slice of bread and a chilled glass of white wine.
Well, there's my favorite small plate! Let's see what others are bringing to the New Years Tapas Celebration! 

Late Night Tapas and Drinks Menu

Susan's Chicken Raisin and Pine Nut Salad with Burgans Albarino

 I'm finishing my tapas celebration off with a glass of Prosecco and twelve green grapes - the Spanish custom for claiming luck in all of the upcoming twelve months! Happy New Year, everyone! May your 2015 be a healthy and prosperous time!


  1. This dish looks like a light and refreshing way to start the year. I like that the fact it can be served either warm or cool, making it a year round option.

  2. I have always wanted to entertain with a tapas celebration. I love the whole idea of it. Your chicken salad sounds delicious. I like having lemon in my chicken salad and the buttery pine nuts must add just the right light crunch. Great recipe!

  3. It does sound packed with flavour Susan. This is something I need to try in my own kitchen. Thanks for the idea, and thank you for bringing it to the table.

  4. Great flavors & textures in this salad. It looks terrific.


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