Radicchio Chicken Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette

Radicchio Chicken Salad Sandwich

My boyfriend and I are both strong forces of nature. He’s always right. I’m always right. Learning to let go of expectations and going with the flow of life is more gratifying as winning a fight with my planned solution. As the “foodie” in the relationship, my tastes are quite difficult, confusing, and demanding. It’s not just about the food. There are opinions about synthetic perfumes. Using natural cleaning products that are better for the environment. Purchasing unhealthy snacks for the midnight hour. Buying mattresses made with natural materials. After all, my opinions are always right.

During the last few weeks, when an urge to complain about household matters to my boyfriend occurs, a small inner voice gently says, “…worry about yourself.” Okay. Chill. Initially, I ignored the voice to speak my mind. The unpredicted results disrupted our calm and peace, and often the reason to fuss wasn’t a major issue. Gradually, I learned to instantly recognize the voice and sit still. Focus on my problems. In the process, I received unexpected moments of joy.

A few weeks ago, while making a Radicchio Chicken Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette, I thought wheat bread would be a healthy addition to the salad. Our part of the neighborhood doesn’t have a bakery. I called my boyfriend to pick up a loaf on the way home. With my history of being specific about food, he requested details, “Wheat? Whole-grain? White? What?!” He was mildly shocked with my answer, “What ever is available.” Truthfully, that’s how bakeries operate, for the various selections of bread changes daily. He could have call to read out the choices of bread, but I decided to focus on having dinner ready at a reasonable hour. I reassured him that my answer was final. Once home, he placed a long slender loaf of white French bread with the hardest crust on the table. No problem. Cheesy garlic bread it is.

His choice of bread was better with the Radicchio Chicken Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette. The salad is bittersweet. Piney. A little lemony. Herbal. The warm, buttery garlic bread pulls all the flavors together. Perhaps, wheat bread would’ve been too much for this dish? We’ll never know, because when going with the flow of life, unanticipated choices lead to new beginnings and true happiness.

Radicchio Chicken Salad

Radicchio Chicken Salad

1 radicchio; sliced/shredded thin
2 Italian/Cubanelle peppers; sliced thin like match sticks
1/8 cup red onion; thinly sliced
2 to 3 cups Shredded Chicken (Recipe provided below)
1/2 cup parsley; roughly chopped
Rosemary Vinaigrette (Recipe provided below)
Sea salt and fresh black pepper; to taste
Crushed red pepper; to taste
1 Italian/French Bread
4 tbsp. butter; room temperature or olive oil
1 to 2 garlic cloves; minced
4 to 6 oz. Reggiano-Parmigiano cheese; sliced paper-thin; plus more for garnish
Optional Garnish: Toasted pine nuts

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Gently toss first eight ingredients together. Set aside.
3. Slice bread horizontally in half or thirds. Then slice the bread sections vertically in half. Do not slice all the way, leaving the bread partly open.
4. Generously butter or drizzle olive oil inside the bread loaves. Smear garlic, sea salt, and fresh black pepper on both halves. Place slices of cheese inside the bread sections. Wrap each bread section separately in foil. Place bread sections in the oven.
5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese melts.
6. Remove from the oven and unwrap the foil from the bread. Place generous spoonfuls of Radicchio Chicken Salad inside the bread sections. Garnish with slices of Reggiano-Parmigiano cheese and toasted pine nuts.
7. Enjoy!

Shredded chicken

Easy Method No. 1: Shred meat from a store-brought rotisserie chicken

Ingredients for Easy Methods No. 2 and 3
2 to 3 (about 1/2 lb.) skinless and boneless chicken breasts seasoned with 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. ground caraway seed, sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste, 1/8 tsp. smoked paprika, and the juice of half a lemon

1. {Easy Method No. 2} Steaming Chicken Method… for use with a metal/pot steamer: Bring the bottom pot of water to a rapid boil. Then reduce heat to a rolling boil. Line the strainer or top bowl of the steamer with foil. Add seasoned chicken, and cook until thoroughly done. Let cool before handling. Shred chicken and set aside.
2. {Easy Method No. 3} On the Stove Method: In a skillet, heat butter and/or a neutral oil over medium heat. Place chicken breasts in the skillet. Cook each side for about 10 to 15 minutes (cooking times vary, due to the thickness of the chicken, but don’t overcook it). Place chicken on a paper towel lined plate. Let cool before handling. Shred chicken and set aside.

Rosemary Vinaigrette

The juice of one lemon
1/8-cup olive oil (estimate the amount/ I “eyeballed” it)
Sea salt and fresh black pepper; to taste
A dash of celery seed
3 tbsp. thick Greek yogurt
1/8 tsp. honey
2 to 3 tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
Crushed red pepper; to taste
1 small garlic clove; minced

1. Whisk all ingredients together. Set aside.

Radicchio Chicken Salad Sandwich

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7 thoughts on “Radicchio Chicken Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette

  • June 20, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Cute story. As always, food has a way of bringing us all together. A happy medium can be achieved even with a loaf of crusty French bread.

  • June 11, 2011 at 10:16 am

    This is a very different chicken salad. Wonderful! I liked the photographs too!!

  • June 9, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Love your post. Beautiful pictures and fun story. I tend to drive my husband crazy with my grocery store requests too. Once I sent him for milk, but was dismayed when he came home with 2 percent instead of 1 percent. Now I am much more specific in my grocery lists. 🙂

    I had never heard of radicchio before. Sounds interesting. I’ll have to try it sometime.

  • June 8, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Your story about the specific requests expected by your boyfriend reminded me of my own relationship. I must admit, I’ve not been quite as relaxed about letting go of the specifics! But ever since Oliver (my 10 month old) came along, I have gotten much better at leaving whole meals to my partner. I just don’t like my own creations being compromised. But you are so right- a little bit of the unknown can result in wonderful alchemies.

  • June 6, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Forces of nature…a lot of passion indeed! This is a wonderful, passionate meal, too!

  • June 6, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    This reminds me of a sandwich I did when I worked at Bouchon. We had a Lemon Butter Roll made by our baker (think lemon flavored parker house), spread ricotta on one side, a caper aioli on the other, and some radicchio leaves over a brined and marinated paoched chicken breast. It was my play on ‘A La Meuniere’ where you traditionally pound out a cutlet, bread and saute in clarified butter until golden brown and finish with lemon sacs and capers. Nice salad. I like the vinaigrette, it sounds nice, I’ll have to try it. Celery seed adds a nice touch to things. I love surprising people with it now and again. Always a good addition to a summer salad or cole slaw. 😉

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