I have leftover roast chicken, from last night. By itself, the chicken is moist and flavorful. The question is, “What to do I do with it?”
I frequently make chicken salad, as my dinner the next night. Both Jan and Eilene like piles of raw vegetables with a bit of protein on top. What they do not like is the chicken and vegetables chopped up and then mixed with mayonnaise.
Last Sunday I served lamb lettuce wraps. I have half a live head of Boston lettuce sitting in my refrigerator. Personally, I think it would be a crime to just rip up these beautiful leaves for a salad.
I have the chicken, the wraps and the other vegetables for the salad; celery, green onion, heirloom carrots, Persian cucumber, and red bell pepper. I still need to decide what kind of dressing I should put on it, to moisten the wrap filling.
As I said, most people’s first choice, mayonnaise, is not an option. Jan and Eilene only like that on tuna salad. An Asian sweet chili sauce is an option, but I am starting with a rosemary roast chicken, the flavors might clash.
I am thinking maybe an herby, French oil and white wine vinegar dressing might be the ticket. Chicken, however, is a sponge. If I mix the chicken and vegetables before dressing the salad, the chicken will soak up all of the dressing. This would leave me with soggy chicken and “blaa” vegetables.
The obvious solution to this dilemma is to dress the vegetables and then stir in the chicken just before serving. This will give me, flavorful veggies, pure chicken flavor and crisp lettuce wraps. This sounds like a light dinner to me.
After Dinner Note: Jan declared herself an “official fan” of this dish. She, however, did want crackers to put some of it it on, for the starch and the crunch.
Note: We used this as tonight’s main dish, but it would be an excellent starter for a larger meal.
Karl’s French Chicken Salad Wraps
½-1 lb. roasted chicken
½ cup celery, diced fairly finely (¼ to 3/8 inch)
½ cup Persian cucumber, diced fairly finely
¼ cup green onion, chopped fairly finely
¼ cup heirloom carrots, grated or diced fairly finely
¼ cup red bell pepper, diced fairly finely
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
1 clove of garlic, lightly crushed
½ tsp. dried basil
¼ tsp. thyme
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. sugar
Pinch dry yellow mustard
Pinch Kosher salt
1 head Boston lettuce
1. Shred chicken and reserve in the refrigerator.
2. Chop the vegetables finely and place in a medium mixing bowl.
Tip: I did not want big tough chunks of carrot, but I also did not want the tiny bits that using a box grater would produce. My solution to this was to use my vegetable shredder and then cut the carrot string into half inch pieces. This quickly produced tiny matchstick carrots that were just what I was looking for.
3. Mix the dressing and pour it over the vegetables. Toss to coat.
Tip: You may make the dressing several hours before to let it meld. Remove the garlic before pouring the dressing, unless you really like large chunks of garlic in your salad.
Note: You may use your favorite store bought French dressing, if you prefer.
4. Let the vegetables marinate and come to room temperature for at least half an hour. Toss occasionally.
Tip: The longer the vegetables marinate the better.
5. Separate the lettuce leaves from the head. Cut any large leaves in half.
Note: Plan on 4-6 leaves per person.
6. Just before serving, mix the chicken into the vegetables and put it in a decorative bowl.
7. Serve with the lettuce wraps on the side.
Note: Dinners fill their leaf with the salad, fold it like a taco and eat.