I was looking for an inspiration for a simple afternoon snack at work when I came across a recipe for Chicken Tarragon Salad at Simply Recipes. Tarragon in the list of ingredients caught my eye and it made me wonder what it tastes like.
Except for the very basic ones like soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, onions and occasionally bay leaves, Filipino cuisine does not use as much spices and herbs compared to the more balanced cuisines of our neighbors like Thailand, Vietnam, India, China and Korea. I find the lack of spices and herbs in our cooking strange since the Spanish came here and colonized our country for 400 years because of the abundance of spices and most of our dishes are of Spanish and Chinese influence.
I remember the first time I cooked with cumin. I was making a barbeque sauce and I was really excited to try the recipe. I took one sniff of the spice and my reaction was “eeww”. Why in the world would anyone put that in a barbeque sauce? The smell really put me off because I wasn’t accustomed to it. What does cumin smell like? As someone said in a blog post, “Cumin smells like armpits in the best possible way!” (lol) Some people are even worried they start smelling like cumin if they eat too much of it (probably).
As I grew older though, my love for food has gradually opened me up to other cuisines. I’ve learned to appreciate and like the different, unique flavors that each one has to offer. Spices and herbs really take the flavor of food to the next level. It’s like adding colors to a white canvass.
I’m happy to say that I quite liked the flavors of the salad filling. Tarragon goes really well with chicken. It has a sweet pleasant smell (nothing like stinky body odor) and a similar flavor to anise but milder. The raisins & honey add a bit of sweetness and the celery adds some crunch and body to the sandwich.
With a little imagination, you can upgrade an easy sandwich from boring to something fun as an afternoon snack or for any graduation celebration. =)
CHICKEN TARRAGON SALAD SANDWICHES
adapted from Simply Recipes
slices of whole wheat bread
2 chicken breast fillets
2 cups water
pinch of salt
*Alternately, this is also a great way to use up some leftover grilled chicken.
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup raisins, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes and drained
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp yogurt
2 tbsp shredded cheese (gouda or any you prefer)
1 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp honey
salt and pepper to taste
chives & julienned carrots (optional for garnish)
Preparing the bread:
Trim the crusts off the bread slices. Put a sheet of parchment paper on top of the bread. Flatten with a rolling pin. Set aside while you prepare the chicken filling.
Chicken Tarragon Salad Filling:
Poach the chicken breasts in 2 cups of water with a pinch of salt for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Shred the chicken meat and put in a bowl. Add the raisins and celery. Set aside.
Mix the mayonnaise, yogurt and honey together. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the dried tarragon.Spoon the salad dressing on top of the chicken bowl and mix it all up. Carefully fold in the shredded cheese. Chill for 1 hour.
Grab a slice of flattened wheat bread and put it diagonally in front of you. Put the salad filling in the middle of the bread.Overlap the 2 opposite corners in the middle. Seal the 2 corners of the sandwich by spreading a little bit of mayonnaise on one corner and pressing the other against it. Decorate with the tip of a chive & some julienned carrots.
Spread the filling evenly at one end of the bread. Roll up firmly like a jelly roll and seal the edge with a little mayonnaise. Tie a stalk of chive around the rolled up sandwich.