Friday, August 3, 2012

Tarragon Chicken Salad

Tarragon is such a lovely and delicate herb.  Its faintly licorice flavor makes me think of it as anise light.  Tarragon is a truly versatile herb that tastes great in so many different dishes.  It's particularly good with chicken, eggs, and fish; and you can even use tarragon in some desserts, especially those with lemons or apples.

Today's recipe for Tarragon Chicken Salad is great dish for a summer picnic.  You can put it on a sandwich, or scoop it into a hollowed out tomato, or serve it with melon slices.

I like to saute boneless, skinless chicken breast, but you can buy chicken that's already cooked or use leftovers from a roasted or grilled chicken as long as it doesn't have too many other flavors already cooked into it.  I also like to shred the chicken with a fork, but you can cut it into cubes, if you prefer.

To cook up chicken for this salad, take 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  Rinse and pat dry.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.  Heat a heavy skillet with a lid over medium heat.  Add 1-2 T olive oil.  When the skillet moderately hot, put the seasoned chicken breasts in the skillet, cover and turn down the heat to medium-low.

Cook the chicken over medium-low heat for about 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat.  Do not brown.  Turn the breasts over.  Cover and cook for another 4-6 minutes until a fork pierces the breast easily and the juices run golden as opposed to red or pink.  Turn off the heat and allow the chicken to cool for about 10 minutes.  When the meat is cool, you can chop it or shred it however you like.

Here's the recipe for Tarragon Chicken Salad:

1 lb. cooked boneless, skinless chicken meat, shredded or chopped
1/4 C chopped toasted walnuts
1/4 C chopped dried cranberries
1/4 C finely chopped celery
2 T finely chopped red onion
2-3 T coarsely chopped tarragon
3-4 T mayonnaise, or to taste
1 t horseradish (optional), or to taste
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Toss the chicken, nuts, cranberries, celery and onion in a large bowl until well mixed.

2.  Add the tarragon, mayo, and horseradish and mix well.

3.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4.  Serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Substitute small red seedless grapes cut in half for the cranberries for a juicier variation.

If you don't eat chicken, tarragon is a lovely addition to egg salad.  Vegan?  Tarragon goes great with tofu, too.

Today's bounty included:

From Jaime Farms:  White corn, leeks, tarragon, and baby dill;

From JR Organics:  Watermelon, early girl tomatoes, and red leaf lettuce;

From Sage Mountain Farm:  Bag chantenay carrots, romanesco squash, arugula, and salad mix;

From Silver Lake Farms:  Basil seedlings;

From Sweet Tree Farms:  White nectarines and dino egg pluots; and

From Weiser Family Farms:  Melons, baby beets, and laker baker potatoes.



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