Friday, May 1, 2009

Grilled Chicken Salad with Tarragon Pesto


I saw this recipe on the cover of Bon Appetit last month & I have been dying to make it. I love salad & especially like something creative , like this one.
I usually will make a meal like this when DH is working late & the Bozos are having something like chicken nuggets. I wouldn't normally put this much effort into a meal for myself. But, I like to have leftovers for lunch during the week & this recipe makes enough for that. A grilled chicken salad is always great, because I can grill some chicken for the kids while I'm at it & skip the nuggets.
I also love tarragon. I think it's a love it, or hate it kind of herb. It can be a bit intense. I modified the pesto recipe slightly by adding some Parmesan cheese...an ingredient typical in basil pesto...because, it was a bit to *grassy* tasting without it. The saltiness of the cheese balanced it out perfectly. The pesto would also be delicious drizzled on roasted veggies...like asparagus, or french green beans.

Start by making the pesto, which can be done ahead of time. Put a packed 1/4 cup of tarragon leaves in a mini food processor.

Add a packed 1/4 cup of parsley, 2 teaspoons of minced shallots,

a teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice,

a 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese and 2 tablespoons of pine nuts.

Gradually add 3 tablespoons of olive oil through the tube of the processor as it's running. Taste the pesto & season with kosher salt & freshly ground pepper as desired. Put the pesto in a bowl & refrigerate until ready to use.

Next, you will need 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Here, I have sliced mine to make them thinner...but, you don't have to. Rub the chicken with olive oil & generously sprinkle with salt & pepper. Grill the chicken on medium high for approximately 5-8 minutes per side, depending on the thickness.

Let it cool a few minutes & slice.

Next, to make the dressing, combine 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 4 teaspoons of lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of chopped tarragon, salt & pepper in a large bowl. Whisk rapidly to emulsify the dressing.

Add some mixed baby lettuces to the bowl...as much as you'd like. Then add about a 1/2 cup each of sliced radishes & sliced cucumbers...for 4 servings add more.

Toss in the bowl to coat everything with dressing. Arrange some salad on a plate & top with the sliced grilled chicken.

Drizzle the pesto over the chicken & serve.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Tarragon Pesto

Adapted from Bon Appétit, June 2009
Serves 4
This earthy pesto, made with tarragon and parsley, is a nice change from the traditional pesto, which is typically made with basil. Tarragon is a perfect compliment to chicken and works very well with this salad. The pesto would also be delicious served drizzled over grilled vegetables, such as asparagus, or green beans. I chose to pound the chicken fairly thin, as that's how I prefer grilled chicken. If desired, you can skip that step.

Pesto:
1/4 cup {packed} fresh tarragon leaves
1/4 cup {packed} fresh parsley
2 teaspoons {minced} shallots
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup {grated} Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons pine nuts
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper

Dressing + Salad
:
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil {plus more for grilling chicken}
kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper
4 {boneless, skinless} chicken breast halves
1 {5 ounce} container mixed baby greens
1/2 cup {thinly sliced} radishes
1/2 cup {thinly sliced} seedless cucumbers

To make the pesto, add the tarragon, parsley, shallots, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times to coarsely chop. With the processor running, gradually pour in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Make the dressing by whisking together the chopped tarragon, lemon juice, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat a grill. Trim the chicken breasts, and pound them out between two pieces of plastic wrap to a 1/4" thickness. Brush them with a bit of olive oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken for about 5-6 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Let rest for about 5 minutes before slicing into strips.
In a mixing bowl, toss the mixed greens, radishes, and cucumbers together with the dressing. Divide among four plates. Top each salad with some of the grilled chicken, drizzle the pesto over the top, and serve.
Click here for the printable recipe.

5 comments:

Nerdhappy said...

the only problem I have with your blog is that I read it while I am at work... drinking a coffee and eating a banana for lunch. How am I going to make it to dinner?

finsmom said...

I have been making soooo many salads lately, and am always looking for a new salad recipe. Yours sounds amazing! Love the idea of tarragon in pesto :)
Thanks for sharing!

Gerry said...

Thanks for sharing this delicious Dish!
I Buy Grill Parts

MeetaK said...

Hi Kate, I was unable to find your email address here - I would love to use a photo from this post for my next FoodieView article. Please contact me!

Elissa Marcuson said...

I adore tarragon and it's one of the only herbs I'm not growing...I need to find some seeds :)

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