RECIPE: Easy, creamy, herb-packed chicken salad

Herby, Lemony Chicken Salad. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Herby, Lemony Chicken Salad. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

I have talked about rotisserie chicken salad here before — twice, in fact. I’ve made it crunchy and briny with walnuts and pickle juice, as well as bright and citrusy with grapefruit, cucumber and mint. These recipes showcase how versatile a rotisserie chicken is; once you peel off the skin, the interior meat is well-seasoned, easy to shred, and a blank canvas for whatever flavors you’d like to throw at it.

So I am offering you one more chicken salad recipe, but you should think of it as more of a guide for creamy, protein-packed salad experimentation.

For every 4 cups of shredded chicken (the typical yield for a rotisserie chicken), you’ll want 1/2 cup of mayonnaise to build the dressing. I prefer to use Duke’s mayonnaise because it offers the cleanest flavor with no added sugar, but you can use whatever brand you like best. For acidity, stir in the zest and juice of the largest, juiciest lemon you can find. (Another fruity acid will work in place of the lemon — think apple cider or sherry vinegar. If you go the vinegar route, you’ll want to add it a tablespoon or two at a time and adjust to taste.) The salad will initially look a little loose and runny, but rotisserie chicken is usually dry, so it’ll soak up the dressing like a sponge. More dressing is better than less.

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Once you’ve got the base mixed, stir in a couple of herbs. I like to use a generous 1/2 cup of one mild herb, such as parsley, plus a tablespoon or so of one bold-flavored herb, such as tarragon. Stick to those themes — mild and bold — and you can modify with whatever you find at the store or in your vegetable drawer. Basil and fresh oregano would also be excellent, as would parsley and sage. You could even chop up a tender green, such as fresh spinach, in place of the mild herb.

The final step is seasoning. Most rotisserie chickens are rather salty, so you may find that you don’t need any additional salt at all. But pepper? Be generous.

Herby, Lemony Chicken Salad. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
Herby, Lemony Chicken Salad. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Herby, Lemony Chicken Salad
  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 large, juicy lemon
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • On the side: Bread or lettuce cups, for serving
  • Using your hands, remove the skin from the chicken and shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl. Discard the carcass or save it for making stock.
  • Add the mayonnaise to the chicken and stir to coat evenly. Zest the lemon over the top, then slice it in half and juice it into the bowl. Add the parsley, tarragon, and a generous amount of black pepper. Stir well, then season to taste with a touch of salt, if needed. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving as a sandwich on bread or in lettuce cups. Serves 4.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 390 calories (percent of calories from fat, 40), 53 grams protein, 7 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 18 grams total fat (4 grams saturated), 203 milligrams cholesterol, 1,106 milligrams sodium.
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