It’s Too Damn Hot: Tarragon Chicken Salad
Can we talk about this heat for a second?! Holy, August! It’s an unbearable, swampy, 96 degrees in NYC today and that’s not the “real feel”, with the heat index, blacktop, and millions of people it feels like 110 degrees. I’m sorry but that’s just too hot to do much but sit around naked in the air conditioning with a giant glass of water. There are few things I will even endure being in the kitchen to make when it’s this warm, except my all time favorite Tarragon Chicken Salad.
I’ve been making this recipe for years, and it’s perfect for sweltering summer days because it’s as simple as chopping some celery and grapes and mixing a simple dressing. The only “cooking” involved is poaching the chicken and being in the kitchen while it cooks isn’t necessary. Thank God!
Now that I think about it, it wasn’t until maybe fix or six years ago that I even tried chicken salad. I don’t recall exactly when it was but I know it changed everything and after that I tried every chicken salad recipe I could get my hands on.
This particular version of Tarragon Chicken Salad is an evolution of many different recipes I tried over the years. I love the crunch of the celery mixed with the sweetness of the grapes and just that little bit of tang from the lemon juice to brighten all the flavors. The real star of this dish, though, is the tarragon with its slight anise, or licorice flavor that really ties everything together. I had never used tarragon before this recipe but it seems to find its way it a lot more of my cooking these days.
From start to finish, it takes me about 30 minutes to make. On ridiculously hot days like this I like to make a double batch and then I don’t have to go near the stove again for days. In my opinion, chicken salad is delicious enough to eat on its own with a fork straight from the dish you used to store it in the fridge. I suppose, though if you want to be classy, you could put it atop some spinach or serve it between two slices of your favorite gluten-free bread. I’ll let you decide how classy you want to be.
- 1 1/2 lbs chicken
- 3-4 medium celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1 cup seedless red grapes, chopped
- 1/4 cup of mayo or greek yogurt
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 2 tsps dried tarragon
- Poach chicken in large pot for about 20 minutes
- While chicken is poaching, chop up celery and grapes and put into large bowl
- In a small dish wisk together lemon juice, mayo and tarragon
- When chicken is cooked through, chop into 1/2 cubes or shred. Place in freezer to cool for 5 minutes.
- Once chicken has cooled add to bowl with celery and grapes, pour the dressing over and mix all ingredients together