Most chicken salad is insipid because cooks used skinless chicken breasts, boil them, cut them up, and put them into a thick mayonnaise sauce. If the chicken used, however, is from grilled or roasted chicken, the taste is high-flavor. It is the chicken you taste, not the mayo, mustard, celery, and onions.
Julia Child once said that the way to judge a cook is by his/her roast chicken, a dish which sounds simple but is nothing but. The rub, what is put in the cavity, the roasting time and method are all key ingredients; and when it works right, the bird is succulent, rich with the flavors of lemon, rosemary and Dijon mustard, served with crispy, edible skin and dark and white meat. A real treat.
I always prepare a 4-lb. chicken for two so that there is plenty of meat left over. I rub the chicken with Dijon mustard, sprinkle liberally with rosemary and ground black pepper, stuff the cavity with a whole lemon, pierced and three cloves of mashed garlic, roast at 450F for 35 minutes and 375F for an hour more. After dinner I remove all bones and gristle, and chop everything – white and dark meat and skin, into 1” pieces and make the salad the next day.
Alternatively, I make grilled skin-on chicken thighs. I marinate these for 5 hours in balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, olive oil, sesame oil, honey, and ginger, then grill under the broiler until the skin is black and crispy. Turned once for 5 minutes, the chicken in ready to serve. After dinner I remove all the meat and skin from the bones, chop into 1” pieces and reserve until I am ready to make the salad.
The dressing for the salad is simple – mayo, yoghurt, Dijon mustard, chopped celery, red pepper, and onions; and Bay Spice. It is delicious!
Grilled or Roast Chicken Salad
* Leftover grilled or roast chicken, chopped into 1” pieces as above* 3 Tbsp. mayo (approx.)* 1 Tbsp. whole milk yoghurt (approx.)* 3 stalks celery, chopped* 1 med. onion, chopped* 1/2 red pepper, chopped* 1-2 Tbsp. Bay Spice* 5-8 grindings fresh black pepper
- Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl
- Mix well