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.
Mediterranean Chicken Salad
- 1/2 cup minced red onion
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 3/4 cup mixed pitted deli olives, sliced
- 1 pinch of red chile flakes
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or basil (or both!)
- 2 tablespoons 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)
Marinate the onion in vinegar:
Mix the minced onion with the vinegar in a bowl and set aside. This quick pickling will take the edge off of the onions.
Poach the chicken:
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.
Combine the other salad ingredients:
While the chicken is cooking, mix the olive oil, capers, olives, chile flakes, and oregano in a large bowl.
Dice or shred the chicken:
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.
Combine chicken, parsley, with other salad ingredients:
Gently mix the chicken and parsley in with the olives. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.