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Mark Bittman's Chicken Salad with Olive Oil and Fresh Herbs

Posted Jun 03 2010 12:49am
This week's the theme for I Heart Cooking Clubs is Herb Garden , meaning Mark Bittman recipes that feature fresh herbs. Every so often I say I am going to start an herb garden, and sometimes I even buy a few pots of them, which I promptly kill off--a green thumb I am not. Luckily the farmers market sells bags of fresh herbs for about $1.00 each, so I can indulge when I want to.

Since I am having a busy week and I had leftover roasted chicken legs from my cookbook review of "Poor Girl Gourmet" ( here ), I used my Mark Bittman "How to Cook Everything" iphone App to find a recipe featuring chicken and herbs. I found an easy, healthy one for Chicken Salad with Olive Oil and Fresh Herbs that looked good and seemed easy to adapt. Bittman advises serving it on greens or pasta or grains, I decided to make a salad and added some cooked quinoa to make it hearty enough for dinner. I added some capers (just because), tomatoes, and used a variety of herbs--basil, parsley, chives, dill, and mint to be exact, and it was a tasty warm weather meal.

Bittman says, "This is a highly versatile salad in terms of the meat you use: Make it with breast or thigh meat or a mixture; leftover chicken is perfectly acceptable (and indeed may give the salad deeper flavor). So you need to cook up a batch only if you don't have enough handy. (For this recipe, start with about 1 1/2 pounds raw, bone-in meat.) Or forget the chicken and use salmon, tuna, or shrimp instead. serve this solo, on top of greens, on cooked pasta or grains, or use it in sandwiches."

Chicken Salad with Olive Oil and Fresh Herbs
"How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman
(Makes 4-6 Servings)

1 lb shredded or cubed roasted, grilled, or poached chicken meat
3 Tbsp chopped shallot or red onion
1/4 cup pitted black olives (I used 1/2 mixed black & green olives and 1/2 capers)
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more to taste
1/2 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs, like chives, parsley, chervil, dill, and/or basil
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 to 6 cups torn assorted greens (optional)
1/2 cup cooked quinoa (optional)

Put the chicken, shallot, olives, and zest in a bowl and mix. (At this point, you may refrigerate the salad, covered, for a day; take out of the fridge 15 minutes or so before proceeding to take the chill off).

Drizzle on the lemon juice and olive oil and sprinkle on the herbs and salt and pepper; mix again. Taste and adjust the seasoning. use as is or arrange the greens on the plate(s) and top with the chicken salad.

Notes/Results: Excellent--a light and flavorful take on chicken salad and a quick, easy meal. I loved the combination of the lemon, different herbs, olive oil and the salty-tangy olives and capers. I made a smaller batch of this, using the meat from two chicken legs--which made enough for two good-size portions. I served this on top of an organic "herb salad" mix of baby lettuces and herbs, along with the quinoa and added some tomatoes for color and sweetness. For the quinoa, I mixed red and regular quinoa and cooked it in some low-sodium chicken stock--it added a nice, crunchy texture to the salad. A great way to use leftover chicken--I would make this again.

You can see what dishes the other IHCC participants made from their herb gardens by going to the IHCC site ( here ) and following the links.

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