Chicken salad with tahini dressing
I've prepared more whole chickens* during quarentine than in my entire life combined. Which is to say, I usually have shredded chicken breast in my fridge. Now, I don't know anyone that gets excited about chicken breast, but I've been particularly adverse to it since I was a kid. I usually make my leftovers into some kind of sandwich or dress them up with some sort of sauce. This situation from Bon Appetit's Healthyish falls into the second category. I saw it all over Instagram a few weeks ago, and the minute I read the recipe I knew I'd making it all summer, just as Christina Chaey promises in her recipe.
I made very few tweaks to the original, but I will say, my addition of mint felt like a must. I also simplified the dressing preparation considerably. Regardless, this salad hits the spot: refreshing, delicious, and satisfying. The perfect thing to eat on your fire escape under a bright blue sky, cold glass of rosé optional but recommended.
Adapted (barely) from Healthyish Healthy Chicken Salad
3 scallions, sliced thinly and on the diagonal
3 Persian cucumbers
Juice from 1 lime
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp honey
1 generous pinch of crushed chili pepper
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2 small heads of romaine, washed, or 2-7 oz containers of pre-washed lettuce (anything crunchy will do), torn into bite-sized pieces
A handful of cilantro leaves and tender stems
3 - 4 mint leaves, torn
1.5 tsp sesame seeds
Soak sliced scallions in a bowl of cold water. Drain and rinse under cold water. Dry them as thoroughly as you can.
Cut the cukes into 8 spears a piece: First in half hamburger style, then in half again hot dog style, then cut each quarter in half lengthwise. Set aside.
Mix the lime juice, tahini, soy sauce, honey and chili pepper together in a medium bowl. If this is your first time working with tahini: remember to mix the hell out of it before measuring it out as it separates like any natural nut butter. Taste the mixure and season with salt. you can thin your dressing out with a couple of tablespoons of water if it seems too thick.
In a large bowl, add your lettuce, scallions and herbs. Pour all but 2 or three tablespoons of the dressing into your lettuce mixture and gently toss everything together, taking care not to bruise the lettuce. In the dressing bowl, add your chicken and cucumber spears and give them a toss in the reserved tahini mixture. Divide your lettuce and your chicken onto two plates or large bowls. Give it a little sprinkle of sesame seeds and a few cracks of pepper and serve al fresco.
*My love for the whole chicken started in earnest after reading David Lebovitz's recipe for Chicken Lady Chicken from his phenomenal cookbook My Paris Kitchen. The marinade, a combination of white wine, soy sauce, garlic, honey and harissa, comes together in a snap, and because the chicken is spatchcocked, it takes less than an hour to cook. Easy, delicious, and you cannot beat the price of a whole chicken.