TriathlEats: Grilled Chicken, Fennel Salad And Tabouleh

In-season fennel and protein-packed tabouleh shine in this tasty dinner, a perfect pre-race meal.

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In-season fennel and protein-packed tabouleh shine in this tasty dinner, a perfect pre-race meal.


For chicken:
2 boneless, skinless chickens
breasts (5–6 ounces each)
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp curry powder
¼ tsp dried dill
2 T olive oil

For salad:
1–2 large fennel bulbs, sliced thin
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste
¼ tsp kosher salt, or to taste
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper, or to taste
2–3 T olive oil
1–2 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced thickly

For tabouleh:
1 cup bulgur wheat (Bob’s Red Mill is suggested)
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 scallions, chopped
1 Roma tomato, ¼-inch diced
1 cup cucumber, seeded and ¼-inch diced
¼ tsp ground cumin
3 T fresh lemon juice
½ cup olive oil
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper


Season chicken well with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, garlic, cumin, curry powder and dill. Toss with olive oil, coat well and set aside for at least 30 minutes before grilling. For the salad, toss sliced fennel with salt and pepper, lemon and oil, then refrigerate until cold and chicken is ready to serve. To make the tabouleh, place bulgur wheat in a bowl and add 1 cup of boiling water, stir, then cover tightly with plastic and allow to stand for 1 hour. Mix in the rest of the tabouleh ingredients and refrigerate until serving. Grill chicken 3–5 minutes per side until cooked through (internal temperature should reach 165 degrees). Serve with sliced tomatoes, fennel salad and tabouleh. Serves 2

Chef David Dawson offers a few tips to ensure success with this recipe:
– Slice the fennel with a mandolin.
– Don’t be afraid of spices, especially salt and pepper.
– Use olive oil, not extra virgin olive oil, in the salad (it has too much flavor and can mask the subtle licorice flavor of the fennel).

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Meet the Triathlete-Chef

Denver-based chef David Dawson is looking forward to retiring next year after having spent a few decades working in restaurants and most recently as a professor, teaching classes such as international cuisine and classical French cuisine at Johnson and Wales University. Dawson, who has worked under Thomas Keller (of The French Laundry fame), also lived in Paris for two years to open Euro Disney Resort (now Disneyland Paris). But the 60-year-old chef is ready to retire his toque to pursue other interests. Dawson’s wife and two daughters race triathlon (his older daughter, Jessica, races for the University of Southern California tri team) and are the reason he started racing sprint-distance tris. “After two or three years of lugging their equipment, I decided to do it myself,” he says. “Doing it is fun, but seeing your kids and wife out there enjoying the same experience is pretty neat. … Plus it gave me the opportunity to buy cool equipment.”

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