July 27, 2011

Chic Chicken

I get really excited when someone mentions the word potluck. I just can't help it. I daydream and zone out. I cant stop thinking about what I am going to make. Most likely because it gives me a chance to scan the bookshelf, flip through old magazines or dip into the bin of overflowing recipes scribbled on just about anything (like the back of a blank patient evaluation form I came across the other day. I'm telling you, I get that excited. I can't think of anything else...work? patients? what?).

Chicken Salad Veronique
Despite how absolutely delighted and eager I get, I waited until the last minute to decide what to bring to a potluck not long ago. I think I lost myself in planning and thinking and list-making and spacing out, because suddenly it was Thursday night and nothing actually came out of all that built-up excitement.

I finally decided on an old classic, a tried and true chicken salad. Fresh and satisfying, much more so than anything stuffed between two stale pieces of bread and wrapped in plastic at 7-Eleven or WaWa, this version of Chicken Salad Veronique is adapted from Ina Garten, in Barefoot at Home.

I buy a few more skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts than originally called for to make enough for a small crowd of people. The breasts are dressed with olive oil, thyme or herbs de provence, as well as salt and pepper. Be generous with the salt as this is your chance to really draw out the flavor of the chicken. For extra color and more juicy kickback I throw in red grapes (also keeping with the veronique style, which is a dish prepared using grapes) as well as an apple for texture and extra crunch. A tablespoon of dijon mustard is also a nice addition, making the dish sing a little bit more. Nuts, raisins, the spice or herb of your choice would also add wonderfully to the consistency or overall combination of flavors. This is a forgiving dish; if you overcook the chicken and its a little dry, the mayonnaise, dijon and even a few spoonfuls of the juicy drippings from the pan can help bathe the chicken a bit,while also allowing the flavors to mingle while it sits.

Chicken Salad Veronique

*4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
*Good olive oil
*Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
*1/2 cup good mayonnaise
*1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves
*1 cup small-diced celery (2 stalks)
*1 cup green graps (or mix of both green and purple)
*dijon mustard, optional and to taste
*the juicy chicken drippings, optional and to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the breasts, skin side up, on a sheet pan. Rub all over with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Set aside to cool.

When cool, remove the meat from the bones, and discard the skin and bones. Cut the chicken into 3/4-inch dice and place into a bowl. Add mayonnaise, tarragon and rest of ingredients; toss well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cant wait to try this!