Perfect Chicken Salad
This recipe is based on something from one of my favorite restaurants: a little place in Olympia (my hometown) called Italia, where they have the best salads and pizza made from local and organic ingredients. If you want to add chicken to any of the salads, it's a shredded chicken dressed in a light but super flavorful dressing. I recreated it one day when I was trying to think of something to jazz up my normal grilled or baked chicken I typically make to top my work lunch salads with. Enter this chicken. It is very easy to make but it stays moist all week, making it perfect for meal prep, and it's so flavorful thanks to the delicious dressing it gets tossed in. And it's very simple to make, too. We just poach the whole chicken breasts, whip up the vinaigrette, shred up the chicken while still slightly warm (absorbs more vinaigrette flavor that way!), and toss it in the dressing. Easy! My favorite way to enjoy it is over a big bed of greens and fresh lettuces but it would also make a delicious sandwich or wrap! I hope you make it and love it as much as I do!
Perfect Chicken Salad
makes about 5 servings
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 2-3 breasts)
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
2 T mayonnaise (preferably organic)
1 T dijon mustard
2 t honey
pinch red pepper flakes (as much spice as you'd like)
few cracks fresh black pepper
1 t dried thyme (finely chopped fresh works too!)
Himalayan pink or sea salt, to taste
poach the chicken
Fill a large pot at least halfway full with cold water over medium heat. Add in the chicken breasts. Let the water slowly come up to a simmer then reduce heat to medium-low and allow the chicken to continue poaching for about 15-20 minutes, until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees. I'd recommend using an instant read thermometer for this. Time will vary here depending on the thickness of your chicken so taking the internal temperature is the best way to know if it's done. Once the chicken is poached, remove from the water and allow to cool for a few minutes before shredding.
make the vinaigrette
While the chicken is poaching, let's whisk together the dressing. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mayonnaise, dijon, and honey until smooth. Add in all the seasonings and herbs and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper to your liking. Set aside until chicken is finished.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle but still warm, shred the chicken with two forks or your hands. Add the chicken into the bowl with the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Keeps in the fridge for up to a week.