Bridesmaid Tarragon Lemon Chicken Salad and Ina Garten

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I was in charge of most of the food for the pampering party for my sister, her bridesmaids and all the moms and grandmoms this past weekend.

We had been working on wedding “stuff” all week. And with the 90% humidity we had been experiencing, everyone was hot and tired.

So I decided after we all went to the nail salon for our pampering that I would just have a picnic inspired dinner.

I wanted to make shrimp salad from this post but my sister (the bride) dislikes shrimp so I settled on a simple chicken salad with a lot of citrus.

In the past when I have made chicken salad I have just poached the breasts, but I am never happy with the moisture content or the texture so I determined that I would roast the breasts on the bone in their skin to keep them moist and flavorful.

Then I decided I wanted to add fresh tarragon. I had never cooked with it before, but I knew it had a light almost citrus flavor as well.

Just as I finished thinking (or talking out loud) to myself about all this chicken salad business, I flipped on the tv.

There was Ina Garten talking about how she loved roasted chicken and tarragon in her chicken salad.

I had a little moment….I was starting think like Ina. Oh the euphoria.

Let’s make some chicken salad.

Tarragon Lemon Chicken Salad

Yields 24 small sandwiches

  • 4 chicken breasts (I prefer the breasts on the bone, with skin on)
  • black pepper
  • sea salt
  • olive oil
  • 4 tbsp tarragon, fresh and finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp parsley (flat leaf or Italian), fresh and finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup – 1 cup mayonnaise (or half mayo and half Greek yogurt)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 350F.

Rinse and pat dry the breasts. Place in a baking pan, rub with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 35-40 minutes. After roasting, remove the breasts from the oven and bring to room temperature. Carefully remove the skin from the breasts and discard. Then remove the chicken from the bone and chop into bite size pieces. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator until you are ready to make the salad. *Can be made up to two days in advance.

To make the dressing combine the fresh herbs, mayo, olive oil, celery, lemon juice, lemon zest, pepper and salt in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours while the flavors combine and get super yummy. *Can be made up to two days in advance.

When you are ready to serve, simply combine the chopped chicken and the dressing.

Now you could serve the chicken salad on some butter lettuce or a bed of spring greens, but I opted for a more carb loaded approach. Carbs=Bread=Love.

Menu for the Pampering Party

Tarragon Lemon Chicken Salad on Potato Rolls

Make-your-own Fruit Kabobs

Fresh Vegetables with Roasted Pinenut Hummus

Cheesecake Lemon Bars

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