The best chicken salad I ever had was in a little restaurant on Newbury Street in Boston. For those of you whom have never been to Boston, Newbury street is the main shopping area. Well, at least it was when I was going to Boston University many moons ago. I spent a lot of time on Newbury and this little hole in the wall became my favorite go-to for lunch, mainly because of the chicken salad. I had eaten plain chicken salad with just onions and celery. I had eaten curried chicken salad, which is not to my taste. But I had never had anything quite like this chicken salad before. It had fresh grapes, celery, and tarragon and ladies, it was a revelation!
It turns out this is a very common dish in France and is known as chicken salad Veronique. Apparently anything cooked with grapes and tarragon earns the title “Veronique”, however I have decided to rename this dish, “Best Chicken Salad Ever” because I believe it deserves the superlative.
Best Chicken Salad Ever
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/4-1/2 cup mayo
- 1-2 tsp chopped tarragon
- 1 small shallot diced
- 1/4 cup celery diced
- 1/2 cup red grapes cut in half
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- salt & pepper to taste
In a small pan, cover the chicken breasts with water and bring to a slow simmer for 20 minutes. Check to make sure there is no pink left and then let cool. Feel free to add some salt to the water and/or use broth instead of water.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the grapes, celery, shallot, and tarragon.
Once the chicken is cooled, cut into small chunks and place in a large mixing bowl. Add all the other ingredients and mix to combine. This can be eaten immediately but tastes better after about 20-30 minutes. This is perfect as a sandwich, or served as a heavy salad over greens.