The conversation over dinner went like this -
Me - What shall I call this chicken salad?
Hella – Delightful. *Takes another mouthful*
Me – Just ‘delightful’? As in ‘Delightful Chicken Salad’?
Hella – Yup.
Me – How about ‘Delightful Summer Chicken Salad’?
Hella – Sounds good. Sounds summery. Is there any more?
It was a dinner that came together easily – a summer salad with croutons to give it some crunch, a handful of shredded chicken for substance, enough greens to say ‘health’ and a dressing that shakes up easily in a jam jar. What is there not to love?
The dressing is creamy and is perhaps on the Caesar spectrum, but the tahini is delicious as the base and the citrus and honey balance everything out. I will return to this one for sure.
This is a low-maintenance summer evening salad. It’s what I might prepare with music in the kitchen and probably a glass of something cold to hand. It’s what I’ll enjoy sharing over the latest episode of our Grey’s Anatomy re-run. It’s what I might well follow with a Mini Magnum. Classy. This is not fancy dining but it’s easy, tasty and looks pretty. Perfect for when the sun is shining – or when you’re hoping to manifest a few rays.
The croutons are the only part that requires a little effort. Here’s how I made them?
- Preheat the oven.
- Cut some bread into cubes (Mine were about 1.5cm square). To be honest, my cubes were straight from a bag in the freezer – I hate waste, so when I have stale bread I cube it and pack it tightly in a bag for occasions just like this. Having it ready cut into cubes makes me more likely to use it.
- Toss the cubes in olive oil and seasoning – we’re aiming for a ‘coating’ rather than a ‘drenching’ here.
- Spread out the cubes on a baking tray covered in parchment.
- Bake for 10-13 minutes until golden brown.
- Set a timer here – the croutons will burn while your back is turned. Allow the croutons to cool and store in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
And after the croutons, the oven can go off and this is all about construction. Plus, if baking your own croutons just isn't on your mood board, feel free to substitute with a bag of the supermarket readymade variety.
I kept it green with my vegetables – little gem lettuce, coriander leaves, cucumber, spring onions – but no need to follow this slavishly. A few radishes would be pretty; as would sugar snaps. I used some shredded chicken from a rotisserie chicken (saving the carcass for stock on another day when I’m in the mood) and mixed the dressing ready to add just before serving. The croutons were the final flourish.
I always have thoughts; here are those relating to this Delightful Summer Chicken Salad –
- Flat bowls look the most stylish for serving; especially large flat bowls.
- For me, this salad is a stand-alone dinner but if your diners are hungry you could add some chips or some summery, buttered new potatoes.
- Vary the seasoning on the croutons if you fancy a change – smoked paprika might be nice.
- If you live with people who like to ‘graze’, hide the box of croutons - they will disappear before your eyes!
Hella loves this salad. She asked if ‘we’ could make it for our family who we’ll be visiting soon. If that’s not ‘food’ as a language of love, I don’t know what is. Summer salad loving. I like that.Print