Herbed Chicken and Fennel Salad
After this brutal winter, we finally have a break from the sub-zero temps. In fact, this past weekend was positively balmy in Washington DC – with temps in the mid-80s today! Of course, this weather lottery is not going to last for too long because the next cold front will be here in a couple more days. Of course, I found out about it after I had already planted all my annual flower saplings and even seeded several of my vegetable beds. I even have my herb garden all firmly planted in the backyard. I don’t know if it will survive the chill that the weathermen have predicted will arrive on Tuesday night. I suppose I will have to spend Tuesday covering all my delicate plants with paper bags and hope that the chill is only temporary and that the plants will be able to survive a day or so of windy cold weather.
In my euphoria over the warm weekend, I spent both days in my backyard – weeding, mulching, seeding and planting; and after the whole day spent on all fours, I was in no mood to cook an elaborate dinner. So the easy thing was to make a light chicken salad. However, it was not my usual recipe for chicken salad with celery and parsley or my curried chicken salad with fruit and curry powder – I made a chicken salad that was loaded with summery herbs. I switched the crunchy celery with a fragrant fennel and added an organic green apple to give the salad some extra zing. The result was a delicious, healthy, crunchy and flavorful salad. I laid it on a toasted challah roll and sat outdoors to enjoy a summery picnic. I know this Indian summer is short-lived so I made the most of it today!
1. A couple of pieces of chicken (breast or leg).
2. One green apple
3. Half of a large bulb of fennel or a small bulb of fennel
4. A handful of fresh herbs – I used fresh Terragon, Chives and Basil
5. 3 Tablespoons of low fat Mayonnaise (I used a store bought Mayo)
6. Salt and pepper to taste
7. 2 tablespoons of dried cranberries
8. 2 tablespoons of shelled pistachio nuts
1. Cut off the excess fat or fibrous parts of the chicken pieces.
2. In a small saucepan heat 2 cups of water and add the pieces of chicken in it to poach them. Heat them on low-medium heat.
3. While the chicken is getting cooked, chop the apple in small bite sized pieces.
4. Also finely chop all the herbs (chives, terragon and basil) and some of the fresh fronds of the fennel (if they are fresh and good).
5. Chop the fennel in small pieces as well.
6. Place all the chopped things in a large mixing bowl. Also add the Mayonnaise, salt, pepper, dried cranberries and shelled pistachio nuts.
7. Take out the chicken pieces when they are fully cooked (no pink in the chicken is left). After the pieces get cooled, chop the chicken in small pieces using a sharp or serrated knife.
8. Add the chopped chicken to the bowl and mix everything together.
9. Chill the chicken salad for about half an hour in the refrigerator.
10. Serve chilled on a bed of lettuce or on any kind of bread to make a nice sandwich. I used challah rolls.219