So fresh and light! Lemon tarragon chicken salad with fennel is great for a springtime lunch or appetizer! Serve on a sandwich, salad, or crostini.
It’s spring! It’s really spring!
I can’t tell you how excited that makes me. I’ve gotten over my “wait, what?” I had about winter being “over” on Groundhog Day, since we had one more cold spell after that, and that was good enough for me.
Now it’s highs in the 70s (and even a few low 80s already!) and I’m loving every minute of it. Just yesterday I decided it was warm enough (i.e. high above 75) to wear flats instead of boots and leggings.
So what does spring mean to me?
- Planting my vegetable garden (it’s halfway dug up now – I want to add an irrigation system this year! So anxious to get things in the ground!)
- Azaleas everywhere! And therefore a necessary trip down the road to Magnolia Gardens while everything is in bloom.
- Considering taking the electric blanket off the bed… not quite yet.
- Easter party planning!
- The return of the epic festival-like weekly farmer’s market downtown (next month)
- No-see ‘ums, aka gnats (Boo. The only bad thing)
- Daylight savings time!!!! An extra hour of daytime after work and more natural light to shoot photos in! SO worth losing an hour this weekend.
- Picnics at Waterfront Park
- Phasing out things like pear-walnut salad in favor of dishes like cucumber tomato salad, when the tomatoes start getting less mealy!
- Grilling and eating dinner on the deck
- Springy-summery meals like these sun-dried tomato chicken salad sandwiches
And in fact, I am going to share with you another kind of chicken salad today: Lemon tarragon chicken salad, even more light and refreshing than the sun-dried tomato one above.
Both fresh tarragon and fennel, the star ingredients of this chicken salad, have a distinct anise-y flavor. I am someone who despises black licorice, so it might seem surprising that I would love this chicken salad full of anise-y vegetables and herbs.
But my theory is that I really only hate anise with sugar, but that mild flavor in a savory meal is quite appealing to me. It’s a completely different animal. Think of it like the difference between a savory Indian yogurt sauce with fresh mint leaves … and a candy cane. Sure, they’re both flavored with mint, but the similarity ends there. Raw fennel and tarragon is just so fresh and lovely!
The other thing is that although I really dislike the texture of raw onion or celery in my chicken salad, the crunchy texture of the raw fennel bulb is not distasteful to me at all, and is actually quite nice. It’s somehow less harsh than a raw onion or celery. If you are also a celery-and-raw-onion-hater, this is a great alternative to consider!
Add a nice squeeze of fresh lemon to brighten it up and a little onion powder, and it’s quite the springy chicken salad. I think it would also be delicious with some chopped walnuts, although I didn’t add any this time since it was going on a salad that had almonds.
Chicken salad is so versatile too. Here are a few ways you can use it:
- Alongside crackers as a snack
- On baguette slices as a fancy appetizer, garnished with a little extra chopped tarragon (shown)
- In a sliced croissant for a springy picnic sandwich
- As filling for crustless tea sandwiches
- On top of a big green salad for a light dinner (recipe coming soon!)
I’m not going to write any more for this post because I’ve got a lovely spring day to enjoy!
How do you like to eat chicken salad? Tell me in the comments!
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Tarragon Chicken Salad
- 2 cups finely diced cooked chicken
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup finely diced fennel bulb
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
- 1/8 tsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Mix chicken with mayonnaise. Add all other ingredients and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve on a sandwich, with a salad, or on bread slices as an appetizer. Garnish with additional chopped tarragon, if desired.