Monday, April 11, 2011

Celebrity Chefs Challenge: Emeril's Chicken Salad with Fresh Herbs

Last week, I made Aarti's Lady Marmalade Chicken Salad for The Celebrity Chefs Challenge, and the other night, I made Emeril's take on Chicken Salad.

I've never made an Emeril recipe before.  I sort of have this bias against poor Emeril, and it's not even his fault.  In college, I waitressed at the now defunct Chi Chi's restaurant.  The GM decided to spice things up, I guess, and wanted every server to take a handful of something (cilantro maybe?  I have no idea; it was green), toss it on the plate, and say BAM!  He wanted us to yell it.  What the point was, or how this at all improved anything is beyond me, but it's all Emeril's fault.

At any rate, this was my first Emeril recipe, and gosh darn it, it was freaking awesome.  I omitted the celery seed, because seriously?  That $4 bottle would sit in my cabinet, crowding it even further, and only get used for this one dish.  No thanks.  I also no longer keep Dijon mustard on hand, instead following this recipe for Dijon at home.  I also used dried herbs de Provence in place of the fresh herbs.

This was even more awesome the second day.  I served on ciabbata rolls, which was an awesome choice, and served tomato mozzarella salad with basil on the side.  Yummy lunch and dinner!

Chicken Salad with Fresh Herbs courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, published in Food Network Magazine, April 2011

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup finely diced celery stalks, plus 1/4 cup chopped celery leaves
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped mixed fresh herbs (such as parsley and tarragon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 to 3 avocados, halved and pitted (optional)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse the chicken briefly under cool running water, then pat dry with paper towels. Season on both sides with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch ovenproof saute pan over high heat. Add the chicken and cook 2 minutes. Turn the chicken over and immediately place the pan in the oven. Roast 10 to 15 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F when tested with an instant-read thermometer. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, garlic, mustard, celery, celery leaves, red onion, herbs, celery seeds and cayenne pepper. Mix well.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut it into a 1/2-inch dice, add it to the mayonnaise mixture and mix well. If not serving immediately, transfer to the refrigerator to chill. Serve in avocado halves, if desired.

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