Spring is in the air in our neck of the woods. The daffodils have popped up out of the earth for their annual appearance, the buds are emerging from the trees, and — my absolute favorite part about this season — the days are getting longer.
Chicken salad reminds me of warmer months, so it was the chosen star at a luncheon with some friends this weekend. I particularly love this version. Not only is it lighter because I substituted sour cream for some of the mayonnaise, but it is further brightened by the addition of celery, grapes, and tarragon. Don’t you just love earthy, savory tarragon? It’s such a classic companion to chicken that it would have been a crime not to toss some into the bowl. One could have some fun with different variations of this recipe, too. If the grapes hadn’t looked so hot at the store (I like them very crunchy), I probably would have added some chopped granny smith apples in their place. Some mustard or a squeeze of lemon juice might be nice in this as well.
I like to roast bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts as this recipe instructs. This method produces wonderfully juicy chicken, without fail, every time I make it. However, if you’re pressed for time, you could certainly grill, poach, or sauté some chicken instead. When I’m eating this salad, I find myself strategically loading up my fork with one piece of everything just so that every bite will hold the quintessential blend of tender meat, crunchy celery, and a sweet and sour grape. I wonder how long the leftovers will last?
8 split chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
2 cups small-diced celery (about 4 stalks)
2 cup green grapes, halved
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Place the chicken breasts, skin side up, on a sheet pan. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil over each chicken breast, and sprinkle them generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through. Set aside until cool.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin and bones. Cut the chicken into 1/2-inch cubes, and add to a large bowl. Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, tarragon, celery, and grapes. Season with 3 teaspoons salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper, and toss well to combine. Taste for seasonings and adjust as desired.
Serve on croissants, pita halves, or alongside a green salad.