Bel Air Chicken Salad
This dish is an homage to the iconic D.C. Chicken salad served in our nation’s capital. A decidedly L.A. take on the traditional recipe, this dish serves the roasted chicken over a bed of organic greens and herbs tossed with walnuts, gala apple, and fresh herbs and raisins, rather than between two slices of toasted French bread. The style of the salad dressing remains the same: both dishes use a creamy, mayo-based dressing with just-the-right- amount of sweet and tart flavor to make it “crave-able” … I prefer the taste of fresh lime as the acid mixed with a good-quality, rich and savory mayonnaise, but you can change it up and go more East Coast style by using Miracle Whip and taking out the sugar, honey and lime.
If possible, the only caveat is to use organic produce— the vegetal flavors will be more complex and rich. I prefer the taste of earthy raw walnuts with sweet apple and golden raisins, but sliced, toasted almonds work nicely in this dish too. This dressing can be made several days in advance— be sure to add the zest of your lime to the mayo dressing, which prolongs its citrus flavor for several days.
Bel Air Chicken Salad
Serves: 3 to 4
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon avocado oil
4 organic Little Gem lettuce heads, sliced into 1/3-inch crosswise strips
½ cup organic sliced celery
1/3 cup chopped, organic flat-leaf Italian parsley, about 1 small bunch
1 medium organic red gala apple, cut into ¼-inch matchstick, about ½ cup
¼ cup red onion, diced
¼ cup raisins or currants
¼ cup chopped walnuts
For the dressing
1/3 cup mayo ( I recommend Best Foods or Helman’s)
Juice of 1 juicy lime, about 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon acacia honey
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher flake salt
For the chicken:
Preheat the toaster oven to 350° F. Lightly salt and pepper chicken, then coat with a thin film of avocado oil. Place seasoned chicken on a baking sheet and cook for about 22 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 165° F. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Cut into bite-size pieces and set aside while you make the salad.
Place all ingredients into a bowl and whisk until combined. Cover and set aside.
In a large salad bowl, add diced chicken, celery, apple, lettuce, parsley, walnuts, raisins and onion. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat salad.
Place in chilled plates and serve immediately.