A sensationally scandalous salad

>> Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Waldorf Chicken Salad, though its origin has been questioned, is in my opinion one of the best salads ever created. A marathon of a recipe, you bet. Will I make it ever again after the 2.5 hours I devoted to this salad, well I'm not so sure. The original recipe calls for 28 ingredients but this version was only about half that. The still extensive ingredient list calls for:

2 chicken breast halves on the bone with skin
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup walnut halves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
2 Fuji apples, cored and thinly sliced
5 ounces mesclun salad greens
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
2 tablespoons snipped chives

1. Make 3 deep slashes in each chicken breast. In a small bowl, mash the garlic, fennel, 2tablespoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the oil. Rub the mixture all over the chicken and into the slashes. Transfer to a small roasting pan, cover and let stand for 1 hour.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast for 10 minutes, until browned and fragrant. Let cool.

3. Roast the chicken for about 40 minutes, until cooked through. Let cool slightly, then discard the skin and thinly slice the meat. (It is so tender and juicy!)

4. In a food processor, blend the vinegar with the mustard and the remaining 1/4 cup of oil. Blend with cheese and buttermilk. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.

5. In a large bowl, combine the chicken with the walnuts, grapes, apples, celery, mesclun, parsley, tarragon and chives. Add the dressing, toss and serve.

This salad was delicious but it just took too dang long to make! Next time I crave a Waldorf Chicken Salad, I think I will just scoot over to Nordstroms where I know it is delicious, and served in about 20 minutes!

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