We all have comfort foods we crave again and again. Maybe it’s your mother’s roast chicken, or noodle soup, or freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, still warm and gooey from the oven.
I could go on, but I’ll cut to the chase here.
One of my top comfort foods is chicken salad. I like it classic, with mayo and celery, or shredded into a Cobb salad. I’ll eat it with a garlicky tahini dressing. I daydream about trying exotic chicken salads, like this one with curry and mango.
And I love it combined with another fave comfort food: peanut butter, as in this Satay salad.
Neither bone-in chicken breasts nor chunky peanut butter are as readily available in Scotland as they are in the US. You can get either one, but you may have to go to several stores and be prepared to pay top dollar. Err, I mean, top pound.
But, luckily for me, chicken breasts and peanut butter can both be had, and had them I did in a delicious crunchy salad.
The dressing here is almost a direct lift from an old Barefoot Contessa recipe. I changed the oil to a healthier extra-virgin olive oil, omitted the sesame seeds and opted for chunky over creamy peanut butter.
I changed the veggies based on what I had on hand – here with julienned carrots, slivered red onions and chopped Little Gem (Romaine) lettuce. Feel free to substitute depending on what’s in your fridge: sliced bell peppers, snap peas, fresh cilantro and chopped peanuts all come time mind.
FOR THE SALAD
4 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Extra-Virgin olive oil
1 head Little Gem lettuce
1/4 red onion
FOR THE DRESSING
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons tamari
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 garlic clove
1-inch piece fresh ginger
1/4 cup all-natural chunky peanut butter
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, until they reach an internal temperature of 160°. Let cool to room temperature.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. Crush the garlic clove and mince the ginger. Whisk these with all the remaining dressing ingredients in a small bowl until well combined.
3. Grate or julienne the carrots; trim the lettuce into 1-inch pieces; and thinly slice the red onion. Place all the veggies into a large salad bowl.
4. As soon as the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin. Shred the meat into bite size pieces (I find fingers are best, but you can use two forks). Keep the bones if you’re planning to make stock, or discard them.
5. Add the chicken to the veggies and toss to coat with the dressing. Taste, adjust seasoning, and serve. The dressed salad will keep for a few days in the fridge, and any extra dressing will keep for a week, tightly covered.