“chicken delight” by artist Peg Franken
This isn’t your typical “chicken salad”… you aren’t drowning it in a mayo base binder ~ it isn’t laden with jarred sweet pickles or relish ~ this chicken salad stars… chicken! Served in romaine or butter lettuce leaves gives a stunning presentation as well as a delectable crunch! Although I am using boneless, skinless pieces for my salad, know you can substitute whole pieces.
- boneless, skinless chicken pieces, rinsed and patted dry with paper towel
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 lemons, quartered
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2-1 tsp crushed red pepper
- 2-4 T fresh lemon juice, reserve “juiced” pieces
- 2 T butter
- kosher salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste
- olive oil for roasting
- 1 head romaine or butter lettuce, washed & dried, 1/2 head torn into bite-sized pieces, other 1/2 left to serve
Preheat oven to 375. Heat large oven-proof skillet or grill pan over medium high heat, add 2 T olive oil; season chicken by rubbing used lemon (the pieces you squeezed for the juice) piece over entire chicken; season with salt and pepper; add to hot skillet to brown about 6 minutes each side; add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and half of the rosemary. Turn off heat, add butter to pan, swirling to melt, place 4 lemon segments in between chicken; move the pan to the oven to finish cooking, turning pieces midway (check pieces after about 10 minutes)
Remove pan from oven to allow chicken to rest and juices to redistribute… (this will leave you with a succulent chicken salad, not a dry-as-the-Sahara chicken salad!) After about 10 minutes, shred chicken using 2 forks; remove garlic and smash with a fork, set aside.
Place the torn lettuce leaves in a large bowl, place the onion in the bowl and toss well. Add chicken and toss. In a 2 cup measuring cup place lemon juice, smashed garlic, remaining rosemary; stirring with a fork, drizzle in 1 T pan juices and about 2 T olive oil, creating an emulsified mixture.
Drizzle over salad and toss well, top with lemon zest ~ serve in lettuce cups ~ enjoy!