Everyone has a favorite chicken salad recipe, and I have about four or five. But the one I circle back to most often combines a few of my true go-to ingredients — namely, Dijon and herbs de Provence. The Dijon brings the sharp, tart elements I crave and the French herbs offer a layering of aromatics that add depth. The grapes and apple provide just the right sweet foil to the mustard, too. And while I do love mayo in general, this chicken salad is just lots better with olive oil — and no mayonnaise. When I can take time to poach the chicken, I will, but a good rotisserie chicken from the grocery store works just fine. (I like including the skin, but that’s not everyone’s preference. Remove it if you like, of course, and use with the carcass to make a stock.) The apple and the pecans augment the crunch offered by the celery, but with extra flavor. Such a quick, easy lunch — and one we enjoy especially when it’s too hot to cook. In cool weather, serve with tomato-basil soup.
2 large chicken breasts, roasted and diced
2 large chicken thighs, roasted and diced
1 to 1 ½ cups seedless red grapes, sliced
1 Granny Smith apple, diced small
3 ribs celery, sliced thin
¾ cup toasted pecan pieces
1 to 2 tablespoons dried herbs de Provence
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Romaine lettuce leaves, for serving
In a large bowl, combine diced chicken, grapes, apple, celery, pecan pieces, herbs, olive oil, Dijon, salt, and pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve atop lettuce leaves or on toasted sourdough slices.