Monday, October 26, 2009

Italian Chicken Salad Lettuce Cups

I am going to begin this entry by saying this recipe has been quite confusing. There are several variations by Ina posted which is unusual and all the ingredients and measurements are different. I am not sure why so I went with what I thought would be a good combo. Luckily I don’t think you could really screw this recipe up so feel free to improvise as you see fit or follow the recipe as I did it and you will get pretty delicious results with minimal confusion.
Italian Chicken Salad Lettuce Cups
adapted from Ina Garten

Here is the list of ingredients adapted from her book:
4 cups shredded chicken (from about 1 whole rotisserie chicken)
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds (put in pan over low heat toast until slightly browned and fragrant)
½ box farfalle pasta (I used the little Barilla bow-ties)
1 diced red and yellow peppers (I didn’t have any Yellow so I used 1 red and just realized the original recipe called for them to be roasted—I just put them in raw)
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (I think you have to use fresh for this recipe)
1/4 cup drained capers
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups Red Wine Vinaigrette
12 butter lettuce leaves (from about 2 heads)
2-oz chunk of Parmesan cheese, shaved with a veggie peeler ( I used the grated I get from Costco)

Toss the chicken, pasta, bell peppers, onion, parsley, almonds, and capers in a large bowl with enough vinaigrette to moisten.
Season the chicken salad with salt and pepper, to taste.
Arrange 1 large lettuce cup and 1 small lettuce cup on each plate, overlapping slightly.
Spoon the chicken salad into the lettuce cups.
Drizzle more vinaigrette over the salads.
Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve.

Do-Ahead Tip: The chicken salad can be prepared 4 hours ahead and refrigerated.
Just before serving, spoon the salad into the lettuce cups.

Red Wine Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup olive oil
Combine the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender.
With the machine running, gradually add the oil and blend until emulsified

Does this lady ever miss?? This was really good chicken salad and I consider myself an expert on chicken salad. I also love lettuce cups and this was such a great idea. In some versions of this recipe there is no pasta but I really liked the addition of it because it made it a complete meal in one lettuce cup. It was very filling and I didn't want to stop eating it. I am so excited that I have a huge container of leftovers and more lettuce to wrap it in. This would be a great way to use turkey leftovers too. I am not sure if I changed the flavor too much by not using roasted red peppers but since I like it a lot this way, I will probably say no. If you try it the original way, please let me know how it is with roasted peppers. Next time I might add some marinated artichokes too. YUM!

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