Saturday, March 28, 2009

Chicken, Dill and Cucumber Salad

Creme fraiche tenderizes the chicken in this cold salad, and it thoroughly melds the cucumber and dill flavor. Creme fraiche also reduces the calories and fat in the salad because it has half the fat and calories of mayonnaise.

2 medium cucumbers
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 lemon-lime vinegar (optional)
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup creme fraiche
3 tablespoons coarsely choppped fresh dill
1 1/2 teaspoon coarse grain mustard (e.g., Moutarde de Meaux)
2 1/2 cups cooked chicken cut into strips 3/8" x 3/8" x 2"
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons white pepper (optional)
3 tablespoon thinly sliced scallions
1/4 cup whole roasted almonds for garnish

Clean peel, and seed the cucumbers. Wipe them dry with paper towels and then lay them on towels with the seed cavity down. Wrap paper towels tightly over the skinned surface of the cucumbers and set them aside for 10 minutes. Do not salt the cucumbers to extract their water.

While the cucumbers are draining, prepare your own mayonnaise using lemon-lime vinegar if you have it and add the lemon and lim juices (you can use prepared mayonnaise if you want to). Stir in the creme fraiche, chopped dill, and mustard. Mix all the ingredients to a smooth consistency.

Put the chicken strips into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle them evenly with salt. If you didn't broil the chicken with creme fraiche, add pepper. When the cucumbers are drained, wipe them dry again with paper towels, inside and out. Cut the cucumbers into 3/8 inch wide strips about 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. They'll be as long as the tines on a dinner fork and as wide as 3 tines. The cucumbers and chicken strips should be about the same size. Cut enough cucumber strips to equal the amount of chicken strips. Put them into the large mixing bowl with the chicken, and add the thin-sliced scallions. Add the creme fraiche-mayonnaise mixture and toss the salad in the mixture. Serve the salad on a bed of fresh greens like spinach and lettuce. Garnish with a short row of whole, toasted almonds. Makes 4 servings.

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