Sunday, August 10, 2014

Picnic Perfect Chicken Salad Ciabatta Sandwiches

When summer first started, one of my missions was to take V on a summer picnic. The weeknights can get really busy and when we first met we used to have "Monday Fundays down by the Mississippi. I've always loved taking breaks on Mondays because often the hustle and bustle of the weekend, makes me want one more day to relax.. if you have errands to run, Mondays are the best, no lines, the sales ads have been updated and everyone else is working!! 

I'm the type of girl who loves "themed" events, whether it's a fiesta, girls spa night, flower garden party, i love really love getting creative to enhance the moment. So in planning our picnic, I wanted to go outside of the normal cold cut sandwiches and make something that was very summery and filling... which lead me to making tarragon chicken salad sandwiches, which were perfect to take on the GO!

 The recipe itself was super easy, I ended up taking a few shortcuts to make it a little easier i.e; instead of cooking the chicken myself I bought a roisterrie chicken, since it's a cold salad I was able to keep it cool overnight and shred it up right before it was time to prep:)

2-3 Boneless skinless chicken breast OR a Rotisserie Chicken (Which was my time saver)
3 stalks of finely chopped celery
1/2 cups mayo or miracle whip plus a little extra to spread on top of your bread.
1/4 cup finely chopped red or white onion
2-3 tablespoons of tarragon ( about 3_4 herb vines
1 whole lemon or 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest or lemon pepper seasoning
Ciabatta Bread

*Note: Depending on what kind of bread you are making this with, you may need to toss it into the oven to brown and bake. In my case, the ciabatta needed to bake for 5-8 minutes... since this was soo quick to toss together after I prepped everything I got the bread in the oven right away in order to allow time to bake and then cool down before adding the chicken salad.

To get started on your prep, I wanted to include a few kitchen  tips or "hacks"to simplify some of the tough steps.
"Onion Tears No More"

 First cut your onion in half, it really doesn't matter which direction as long as it has a flat side like the below. Starting at the bottom slice across the onion like it's a piece of bread... BUT make sure you DON'T slice through it.

 After you've made the first slices, your onion should look like the above 2nd photo.

Now that you've sliced your onion horiziontally, you can slice the onion straight down  & through but don't slice all the way across. You'll want the onion to be sliced but still kept together.

You're almost there!! The last step is to slice in the opposite direction from the 2nd slice, this will automatically dice your onions, from here you can continue chopping if you're pieces are still a little big. 
*Always keep in mind when you're cooking for a crowd or picky palates that not everyone likes the full pieces of onion (my lady is one of them) so often I will get close to petite dicing or minicing my onions so the flavor is there but the texture is subtle. Also, remember you already have some chopped celery in here, so that will counter balance the texture of the onion and really wouldn't you rather bite into a tasty piece of celery over a bitter onion?

Fast Herbing

When dicing/mincing fresh herbs like tarragon, rosemary,parsley, cilantro to save a little time do the following steps!

 Grab your herbs, slighty twist them ( if long enough) and then fold them into a lower case "n" shape

While holding them together gentle, begin dicing!

 Ta Da!! You're finished and have twice as many herbs in less time!

Make sure you save the zest!

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Step 1: In a medium bowl add the celery,tarragon, lemon juice, zest, onion and mayo.

Step 2: Mix.

Step 3: Take the shredded chicken and toss it into the wet mixture, gently folding so the chicken and the sauce become the very best of friends!

 Step 4: Slice bread.

 Step 5: add as much or little chicken salad to your bread and you're done! If you're taking these to go now is a perfect time to wrap them set in the fridge and take them out when you need them.
This can be made overnight as well, tastes just as yummy the next day!

Hope your lunch will be as great as ours!

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