Recipes for chicken salad are only as good as the chicken itself. If the chicken is dry or flavorless, no amount of dressing, mayo or seasoning will camouflage it. To ensure silky, juicy, and flavorful chicken, Cooks Illustrated uses a method based onsous vide cooking (submerging vacuum-sealed foods in a temperature-controlled water bath.) Their ideal formula was four chicken breasts and 6 cups of cold water heated to 170 degrees and then removed from the heat, covered, and left to stand for about 15 minutes. This yielded incomparably moist chicken that was perfect for chicken salad.
** Quick Recipe** For me, since I was in a hurry (you can tell by the photos), I simply cut up some rotisserie chicken. You can’t get more juicy and flavorful chicken than that. And for my surprise ingredient, I used tartar sauce instead of mayo. Here’s my Tarragon Chicken Salad in just minutes!
Hope you enjoy!
Tarragon Chicken Salad
- Rotisserie chicken (like the ones from Costco); chopped OR use Cooks Illustrated method above with chicken breasts (about 3-4 cups of chicken chopped)
- Celery; chopped
- Red onion; chopped
- Orange bell pepper; chopped
- Cherry tomatoes; chopped
- Fresh tarragon leaves, finely chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried tarragon)
- 1/3 cup, tartar sauce (add more if needed)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- Season with salt & black pepper
- Bread, any kind
- Lettuce and sliced tomatoes (optional; if you want to add more to your sandwich)
You can also add diced Granny Smith apples (peeled and cored) or grapes too.
- Combine the chopped chicken with all of the chopped veggies through the cherry tomatoes and toss in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients through the lemon juice and mix well.
- OR if you’d like to taste the tartar sauce/dijon/tarragon/lemon juice mixture beforehand, mix these ingredients in a separate bowl to taste.
- Season with salt and pepper and assemble your sandwich.