Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Herby Chicken Verde: A Summer Plateful of Green

Color. That is the theme of this month's Creative Cooking Crew challenge, hosted as always by the lovely and talented Joan of Foodalogue and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks. That is, color, singular, not plural - as in, participants have been tasked with creating a dish featuring one and only one color as the primary focus.

I had big ideas. I wanted to make a moody and mysterious dish of all black or blood red, inspired by my preoccupation with the brilliant series Hannibal. (My dish, however, unlike Dr. Lecter's creations, would have contained absolutely no human.) Alas, a hectic travel schedule for the first part of June put the kibosh on my plans and so instead I opted for this cheerful green number, complete with a cutesy name: herby chicken verde. My dark Hannibal-inspired dish will just have to wait.

No complaints, here, though. While it may not be gourmet, this glorified chicken salad  - loaded with fresh tarragon, parsley, chives, basil, scallions, and garlic mayo - was just the thing for yet another sticky summer evening.  I've presented it here plopped in Romaine lettuce cups to up the green ante, but this also makes a great sandwich.

Herby Chicken Verde

4 split (or 2 whole) boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon, divided
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, divided
1 bunch chives, chopped
green parts of one bunch scallion, chopped
10 leaves basil, cut into chiffonade
handful pea shoots
3/4 cup mayo, homemade or high-quality store bought
3 large cloves garlic
salt & pepper, to taste
Romaine leaves (optional)

To prepare boneless skinless chicken breasts, I always use this method from the Kitchn. It is 100% foolproof. In a nutshell, pound the breasts to an even thickness, salt and pepper, and dredge in flour, and, if you like herbs. For this version, I used 1 tablespoon each tarragon and parsley and 2 tablespoons flour. Cook over high heat in butter and olive oil for one minute on each side, then cover and turn the heat to low for 10 minutes. Do not take the lid off - that is key. Turn the heat off for another 10 minutes and you've got perfect moist breasts. Once cool, dice and combine with the leftover tarragon and parsley, chives, and scallion. 

Next make your mayo: In a mortar and pestle or with the flat of your knife, smash the garlic cloves with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Once the garlic has been turned to paste, fold it into the mayo along with a squeeze of lemon juice. Add this to the chicken and herbs, and chill for a couple of hours. Before serving, fold in the fresh basil and pea shoots. 

Serve on lettuce cups, in sandwiches, or on top of a salad. 

Check out the rest of the color dishes on June 28 when Lazaro posts his round up.  You don't want to miss it - one of the dishes glows in the dark. Pretty cool. 


  1. This looks incredibly fresh and flavorful. The perfect meal for a hot summer evening! I love that you served the salad in lettuce cups for even more green.

  2. What a dish! That looks great for summer. I love using boneless,skinless chicken breasts - they cook up quickly, can really be tasty, and (oh my) are healthy! I probably ought to think of that last one a bit more often... Congrats on a very cool green dish.

  3. I make something akin to this each time I make a roast chicken for a weekly dinner. I can't resist a chicken salad with even a hint of tarragon in it. I have used that chicken breast method featured at The Kitchn many times after an expert chef from Maryland turned me onto it. Its fantastic and has served me well. Who needs any other colors when you have a green thing like this going on?

  4. We bith went green and I like this pollo verde. So fresh and appetizing...Well done!

  5. LOVE Hannibal too, sad the season is already over. Never thought of black lol. But I do love your choice of green for this very tasty chicken verde.

  6. Well, Now I know what show to get addicted to next. This is amazingly well done. Love the fresh flavors of your green themed chicken salad!

  7. I need to remember that method of chicken cooking...

    Chicken and tarragon were meant to be together. I am pretty sure its an axiom.

  8. Delish and verrry green. Great to use pea shoots in the dish... they taste like summer.

  9. Love this course. Worked out great in the end.

  10. I am in love with this dish - I love how fresh and vibrant and summery it is! I'll definitely need to try this soon!

  11. Love all the fresh herbs in this.

  12. perfect summer meal, green is definitely a great choice :)

  13. It's lovely. Fresh and bright. I can see serving this on my next brunch buffet.

  14. Yum, yum, what a gorgeous salad! I'm going to cut and paste your chicken breast cooking method to try, thank you!

  15. I love your original idea of a Hannibal-inspired dish (mine was inspired by Dexter!), but this turned even better! So fresh and perfect for summer.