Tarragon Chicken Salad
Mr. Sidewalk Shoes and I met and married in St. Louis. Our first house was down in South St. Louis, in an area known as Benton Park. It was a lovely brick two + story row house, built I believe in 1896.
It was a great eclectic neighborhood, but what I really loved was Sydney Street Cafe just a block or so over from us. And, what I really, really loved about Sydney Street Cafe was their tarragon chicken salad.
This was before The Food Network and Food Blogs and I had never tasted tarragon before. Never knew such a thing existed. I immediately fell in love with it, and since I am quite a simple creature really, now and forever tarragon is associated with chicken salad. I'm easy that way.
Ina Garten's Chicken Salad
As a creature of habit, once I find something I stick with it. Once I found this salad from Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa), I never had to look for another one.
Oh, she calls it chicken salad veronique and I believe in my limited technical food knowledge that the veronique is thanks to the grapes in the salad. But to me the shining factor in the salad is the tarragon, so I make sure to include it in the title.
Ingredients in this recipe:
- Chicken - white meat, preferably. You can use the method in the recipe card to cook chicken breasts, or you can make Instant Pot Poached Chicken Breasts or use the breast meat from rotisserie chickens.
- Grapes - green or purple. Always buy organic grapes, they are on the dirty dozen list every year. Especially avoid buying imported grapes.
- Celery - buy organic if you can, it's also on the dirty dozen list.
- Tarragon - fresh tarragon is best, can substitute dried - use 1 teaspoon.
- Mayonnaise - I usually try and buy either mayo made with avocado oil or olive oil, but I also tend to just buy whatever I like and it's on sale!
- Salt and pepper to taste.
This salad is so crazy easy to make. You can follow the instructions in the recipe card to simply roast some bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts or you can use leftover roasted chicken or even cook frozen breasts in the Instant Pot!
However you cook your chicken, when it's cool enough to handle, dice it and add it to a bowl. Cut the grapes in half and add them to the bowl.
Finely slice the celery and mince the fresh tarragon leaves and add to the bowl.
Add the mayo and salt and pepper and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings!
That's it, you've just made the best chicken salad!
Ina calls for green grapes and while they are pretty, I actually like my purple grapes. They add a little purple pop to the salad. This is such a good salad, light and refreshing.
The crisp celery pairing wonderfully with the sweet grapes and the soft hint of tarragon. I make this whenever I have leftover rotisserie chicken and it is super easy to whip up. Ina gives directions for actually roasting your chicken breasts first - so you can go either way.
I like to serve it either on top of some salad greens or in pitas. I make this all summer long when my tarragon is flourishing, I have even bought a few packets of tarragon in the store and made it during the winter, it's like bringing summer back in a bowl!
More Easy Chicken Salad Recipes:
Mediterranean Chicken Salad - no mayo so it's perfect for picnics or potlucks. Lots of lemony tarragon flavor with tomatoes, artichoke hearts and kalamata olives.
Vietnamese Chicken Salad - sweet and tangy with cabbage, peanuts, carrots, mint or cilantro!
Thai Chicken Salad - the Spicy Thai Peanut Dressing really sets this salad apart from others!
Curried Chicken Salad - another easy salad made with grapes! Love the toasted almonds on the top!
Tarragon Chicken Salad Veronique
- 4 chicken breasts bone-in skin-on
- Good olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tarragon leaves chopped
- 1 cup celery diced small
- 1 cup green grapes cut in 1/2
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Place the chicken breasts, skin side up on a baking sheet. Rub them with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Roast for 35 to 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove and set aside to cool.
- When the chicken is cooled, remove the meat from the bones and discard skin and bones. Cut the chicken into a 3/4-inch dice and place in a medium to large bowl.
- Add the mayo, tarragon leaves, celery, grapes, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss well and adjust seasonings if necessary.