Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summerlicious Chicken Salad

Tarragon and Basil Chicken Salad

Here's a unique variation on the traditional chicken salad recipe. Chicken breasts are slathered with Dijon mustard, seasoned with tarragon and basil and then baked. It’s a marvelous combination of flavors. 

With temperatures hovering in the triple digits, it's perfect for the ladies luncheon I'm catering today because its cold and light - seasoned slices of colorful tomatoes wedged between sweet slices of red onion and mozzarella cheese are a complementing accompaniment.  I'm serving with homemade focaccia and peach iced tea. 

Helpful to know: The chicken can be baked prior to the day you're planning to serve it. When I'm not preparing this for a catering party, I often double or triple the recipe, it's makes, "What's for lunch?, What's for dinner?" super easy.  Whole Foods Market produces a delicious canola mayonnaise that has the consistency of a thick salad dressing. It works beautifully in this recipe.  
1½ pounds chicken breasts, skinned and boned
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
1 tablespoon dried basil

Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange chicken in a single layer in a baking dish. Spread Dijon mustard evenly over chicken, top with tarragon and basil and bake for 45 minutes. Allow chicken to cool before cutting into bite size pieces.

1 cup celery, minced
⅓ cup mayonnaise (more or less to taste)
Salt to taste, optional

In a large bowl, combine chicken, celery and mayonnaise; season with salt to taste. Toss to evenly distribute ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Yield: 4 servings.