The celebration of the autumn harvest is a practice cherished across humanity. In Norway, this time is referred to as høsttakke, or “harvest thanks” with secular and religious roots dating back centuries. More recently, it is celebrated with høsttakkefest, a tradition spanning back to 1899 with the Norwegian church. At the end of September, churches typically hold family services, where children bring fruits, vegetables and flowers to symbolize the harvest.
This is one of the most colorful seasons when it comes to the natural landscape and the incredible produce from the fields. It’s a time worth celebrating as we move closer to the winter months ahead when the fields will lay dormant until the spring.
I love the idea of harvest salads, where you can pull together whatever local produce you have available to you that echoes the vibrancy and diversity of the season. I also like the balance of sweet and savory with lots of texture in every bite.
This harvest salad features Norwegian chicken with warm herbs and spices, tart apples from the garden, sweet and salty walnuts and pumpkin seeds, crispy fenalår (cured lamb leg), and hearty kale and brussels sprouts all blanketed in a tangy lingonberry dressing.
Chicken Harvest Salad with Crispy Fenalår & Lingonberry Dressing
For the grilled chicken:
- 2 chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons oil
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon dried sage
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
For the roasted seeds and nuts:
- 1/3 cup (35 g) walnuts, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup (30 g) pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon oil
- Pinch sea salt
- ½ tablespoon honey
- 6 slices of fenalår (or another thinly sliced cured meat)
For the dressing:
- 2/3 cup (160 ml) olive oil
- 6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons lingonberry jam (or cranberry jam)
- 2 teaspoons of Dijon or strong mustard
- Pinch of sea salt
- 7 ounces (200 g) kale, center ribs removed and torn into small pieces
- 7 ounces (200 g) brussels sprouts, peeled, ends removed and finely chopped
- 2 medium crisp apples, cored and thinly sliced
- Fresh lingonberries
In a medium bowl, combine the chicken breasts, oil, thyme, sage, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken for 5 to 8 minutes per side or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the grill and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Thinly slice the chicken and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF / 180ºC.
On a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, toss together the walnuts, pumpkin seeds, oil, sea salt, and honey and arrange in a single layer. Lay the pieces of fenalår along the sides of the baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the nuts and seeds are golden and fragrant and the fenalår is crispy. Remove and set aside to cool.
Prepare the dressing in a jar by whisking together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lingonberry jam, Dijon, and sea salt until emulsified.
To assemble the harvest salad, in a large serving bowl, combine the kale and brussel sprouts, and toss together with half of the dressing. Top with the sliced apples, grilled chicken slices, roasted nuts and seeds, and crispy fenalår – broken into smaller pieces – and fresh lingonberries. Drizzle the rest of the dressing on top. Serve immediately.