Do you have a favorite chicken salad? I love making chicken salad because it’s so versatile. You can easily make it ahead, it holds up well for a picnic or potluck, and you can eat it straight, in bread or toast as a sandwich, or toss it with lettuce or pasta. Here’s a tangy twist on the classic we know and love, a Mediterranean-style chicken salad with chopped poached chicken, lots of olives, capers, red onions soaked in red wine vinegar, and olive oil. Serve it straight, or toss it with some pasta. Or serve it in lettuce cups. If you want to be extra fancy, make little boats with a spoonful of this chicken salad in endive leaves. Endive tastes especially good with the salad’s olives, oil, and vinegar.
There are lots of uses for this basic salad. Try mixing some cooked pasta in with it. Or placing a spoonful into boats of endive lettuce. Endive tastes particularly good with this salad, so it would also work just to chop some up and add it to the chicken salad. You could also stuff an avocado half with it, or stuff fresh tomatoes.
- 1/2 cup minced red onion
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp capers
- 3/4 cup mixed pitted deli olives, sliced
- 1 pinch of red chile flakes
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano or basil (or both!)
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Black pepper to taste
- Endive lettuce for appetizer boats, or chopped to add to the salad
- Butter lettuce for lettuce cups
- Fusilli pasta, about 1/4 pound dry for one batch of the salad (use gluten-free pasta for gluten-free option)
1 Mix the minced onion with the vinegar in a bowl and set aside.
2 Bring 1 1/2 quarts of water to a boil and add about 2 tablespoons of salt. Cut the chicken breasts in half crosswise and place them in the water. Reduce the heat to low and let the chicken cook very gently, at barely a simmer, for 10-15 minutes, until just cooked through.
3 While the chicken is cooking, mix the olive oil, capers, olives, chile flakes, and oregano in a large bowl. When the chicken is done, place it on a cutting board to cool. Add the onions to the bowl with the olives. Once the chicken has cooled enough to handle, cut it into dice or shred it. Gently mix the chicken and parsley in with the olives. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.