Cooking Cove: Not your usual chicken salad

Cooking Cove: Not your usual chicken salad

Chicken Club Salad

By Barbara Beltrami

If chicken has as many preps as there are cuisines and other ingredients, chicken salad isn’t far behind. We all know and love the classic one which calls for roasted or poached white meat chicken, mayonnaise, some finely diced celery and maybe a squirt or two of fresh lemon juice. The addition of chopped gherkins and walnuts is a great way to jazz that one up.

But what about other less known but just as delicious chicken salads? Mediterranean with tomatoes, capers and olives, onion and feta cheese and dressed with olive oil and vinegar is a real winner while curried chicken salad with raisins also gets lots of raves when I serve it.

But I think my three favorites are an Asian chicken salad, another one that I make in the summer because it’s so delicate and refreshing … and pretty, and finally one that has all the ingredients of a club sandwich except the bread. So go ahead, be brave and chop up veggies or nuts or fruits and add them to the classic version or try one of these.

Asian Chicken Salad

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:

8 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, poached and diced

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced

One 5-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and halved

6 scallions, trimmed and sliced

One 10-ounce package frozen snow peas, cooked according to package directions

1 cup cashews, toasted

1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce

1/4 cup sesame oil

1/4 cup peanut oil

1/4 cup tahini

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons white wine

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl combine chicken, red pepper, water chestnuts, scallions, snow peas and cashews. In bowl of food processor puree parsley, garlic, teriyaki sauce, sesame oil, peanut oil, tahini, vinegar, wine, brown sugar, ginger and coriander. Pour the mixture over the chicken and veggies, toss to combine thoroughly, sprinkle with sesame seeds, cover and refrigerate at least three hours. Serve with rice and cucumber salad.

Summer Chicken Salad

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:

6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups cantaloupe balls

2 cups seeded diced cucumber

1 cup diced fennel bulb

2 cups seedless green grapes, halved

1 cup blanched sliced almonds

Salt and black pepper to taste

Grated zest of one lemon

1/2 cup chopped dill

1/2 cup minced fennel leaves

1/4 cup minced fresh tarragon leaves

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Arrange chicken breasts in a large baking pan, slather with cream and bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely in cream; remove chicken and save accumulated juices to enrich soups or sauces if desired. Dice chicken and place in a large bowl. Add melon, cucumber, fennel, grapes and almonds; toss to combine. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, lemon zest, dill, fennel leaves and tarragon; toss again to thoroughly combine. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, tarragon vinegar and salt and pepper; add to chicken mixture and toss to thoroughly coat. Cover and refrigerate one hour. Serve with a salad of micro greens.

Chicken Club Salad

Chicken Club Salad

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, poached and cut into bite-size pieces

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

8 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3/4 cup mayonnaise

4 cups Bibb or Romaine lettuce, washed and  torn into bite-size pieces

1/4 cup vinaigrette

DIRECTIONS:

Combine the chicken, tomatoes, bacon, salt and pepper and mayonnaise in a large bowl. Toss to thoroughly combine. In a medium bowl toss the lettuce with the vinaigrette. Arrange dressed lettuce on 4 salad plates; top each with a scoop of the chicken salad. Serve immediately with toasted bread.

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