Happy sprinkle to Miss Alison! I was in charge of chicken salad and I never really make chicken salad (let alone chicken salad for fifteen people). Not a big fan of mayo-based salads (this lightened up lemony version an exception) and when I chatted up the fit and fabulous Alison, I found out she wasn’t either. My internet searching wasn’t easy (turns out most folks are big fans of mayonnaise) but I discovered a Giada recipe on the Food Network site that sounded interesting. After subbing out some ingredients and using my own vinaigrette, I’d come up with the dish I knew I loved. You never know how it’s going to go over with a group, but they really liked it! Lots of recipe requests lead me here, posting it to homebeccanomics instead of emailing it out individually. As it’s gluten and dairy free it’s a GREAT option for potlucks this summer.
This recipe is incredibly straightforward – pretty hard to mess up. I chose to poach the chicken because I find it yields the most tender results, so please read this before you get started. To poach a food you cook it at a “near simmer”. This means as it cooks you should see a bit of movement in the water, but no bubbles. If you bubble away your chicken it will NOT be tender, it will be tough and chewy. Just glance at the pot a few times and make sure it’s not simmering. Easy.
Italian-Style Chicken Salad for a Crowd
Serves about 18
4.25 lb. chicken breasts (8-10 chicken breasts) (12 c. chopped cooked chicken)
2 1/2 c. jarred roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 c. thinly sliced red onion
1 c. finely chopped fresh parsley
1 c. slivered almonds, toasted
1 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. champagne vinegar
1/4 c. dijon mustard
1/4 c. honey
2 tbsp. mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add chicken breasts and when water comes back to a boil, reduce to medium. Keep the water at a near boil for about 10 minutes.
2. Remove chicken from pot and let cool. Chop into bite sized pieces.
3. Place chicken in largest mixing bowl and add peppers, onion, parsley, and almonds.
4. To make vinaigrette, whisk olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, mayonnaise and salt and pepper.
5. Pour over salad mixture and toss to combine. Refrigerate until ready, up to several hours.
6. Serve over Bibb lettuce or in sandwiches.