Thursday, April 19, 2007

Cilantro-Lover's Leftover Chicken Salad

One of the biggest challenges for anyone who really likes to cook is to develop great recipes out of leftovers. I'm talking about recipes that will transform leftovers into something you'll love to eat: things with completely different flavors than the original dish. For me, one of the biggest leftover challenges is rotisserie chicken. I'm a fan of those Costco rotisserie chickens, which taste great when you take one home on Friday night, but the next day I want that chicken transformed into something else entirely. This recipe is one of my latest creations for leftover rotisserie chicken.

Fans of Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Sher of What Did You Eat this week, will notice I've managed to return to cilantro before my reputation got completely tarnished by those rumors that I've been flirting with parsley. Of course cilantro will always be my very favorite herb. I searched for some new information about cilantro, since I've written about it so many times before. made this observation:
Interestingly, the regions of the world where it is most cherished are not where it originated. Cilantro’s genesis can be traced to the Mediterranean. The Romans spread it to Asia while the Spanish conquistadors introduced it to Mexico and Peru. Subsequently, cilantro is a primary herb in Indian, Asian, and Latin American cuisines while Europeans and Americans have given it a lukewarm reception. Nevertheless it is touted as the world’s most popular herb.
Of course, I know we will never convince some of you of those claims about the popularity of cilantro. No worries, I'm calling this recipe Cilantro-Lover's Salad so people like Sher and myself can have it all to ourselves.

Cilantro-Lover's Leftover Chicken Salad
(makes 2 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

2 cups leftover rotisserie chicken, coarsely chopped or shredded
2 cups coarsely chopped cilantro
8-10 radishes, thickly sliced, then slices cut in half
1 cup snow peas, cut into diagonal pieces
1/2 cup sliced green onions

4 T fresh squeezed lime juice (about 2 limes)
4 T olive oil
1/2 tsp. Ancho chile powder (or more)
(other chile powders can be substituted, I use Ancho chile powder from Penzeys.)
1/4 tsp. salt, preferably sea salt
1 tsp. Spike Seasoning (optional but highly recommended)
Aleppo pepper to sprinkle over (optional but highly recommended, available from Penzeys.)

Chop chicken into bite-sized pieces and place in large salad bowl. Cut largest stems from cilantro, then wash and spin dry or dry with paper towels. Coarsely chop cilantro and add to chicken. Add sliced radishes, diagonal sliced snow peas, and sliced green onions.

In small bowl, whisk together lime juice and olive oil. Stir in Ancho chile powder, salt, and Spike seasoning. Pour dressing over salad and stir gently so greens and chicken are coated with dressing. (If you prefer your salad on the dry side, you may not need all the dressing.) Sprinkle with Aleppo pepper if using, and serve immediately.

South Beach Suggestions:
This would make a perfect lunch for any phase of the South Beach Diet. If you wanted something more, Spicy Avocado in Pita would be a great addition for phase two or three. Cut-up avocados would be great added to this salad for phase one.

More Cilantro Salad Yumminess:
Black Bean, Rice, and Cilantro Salad
Garbanzo, Tomato, and Cilantro Salad with Lime and Chile Dressing
Asian Cucumber Salad with Cilantro and Vidalia Onions
Black Bean and Pepper Salad with Cilantro and Lime
Chickpea, Feta, and Coriander Salad from The Cooking Adventures of Chef Paz
Thai Beef Salad from What Did You Eat?
Mexican Chopped Salad with Avocado Dressing from The Paupered Chef
Thai Beef Salad from Food and Paper
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  1. Hail to the Cilantro Queen! This is another great recipe.

  2. I love cilantro in just about anything, Kalyn. Sometimes I buy it just to smell it.

  3. I was hooked at "Cilantro" - it has it has its very own food group in my house :)

  4. I have been a bit shocked at the relationship you're developing with parsley! :) Poor cilantro has been quite worried. But, you've returned to your true love with this marvelous salad. I agree with you about leftover chicken. It can be a challenge. But, this is a great way to use it.

  5. Hi Kalyn,

    I have been reading your blog for the past year or so. Its a great resource for me, and I apply your techniques to my cooking.
    I love the Costco rotisserie as well, and being an Indian, Cilantro is at the top of my list!
    One question: How long does the chicken keep well in the fridge? I usually try to use it up in 2-3 days but toss it after that. Any idea if it will freeze ok?
    Thanks for your blog!

  6. I'm pretty keen on cilantro, too, but hard pressed to actually describe the taste and smell beyond the typical love/hate reaction people have to it. Keep these recipes coming, Kalyn.

  7. I love cilantro to death and I am a leftover junkie. This is my first visit... thanks for all the healthy eating ideas!

  8. Cilantro is delicious - however using the word leftover kind of degrades this in the beginning. If people only knew! ;)

  9. Just made this today following your recipe - I am now the better cook over my mother!

  10. This looks really good Kalyn! Difficult, looking at it, to believe that its from leftovers!

  11. Wonderful recipe! I just love cilantro and try and add as much as I can wherever I can. I can hardly go without a buch of these delicious herbs in my weekly shopping list. Way to go, Kalyn!

  12. Cilantro? *scream* You know I HAVE to try this salad. I already LOVE it!


  13. Yikes, again I'm seriously neglectful in answering comments. I'm a bit overwhelmed in my life right now, in case it's not obvious. I'm happy so many of my cilantro-loving friends approve of the salad!

    Vidishi, I've removed the meat from the chicken and frozen it many times. It's great in something like soup or a casserole. I also freeze the chicken carcass and use it to make chicken stock. I do think that after a few days in the fridge the chicken isn't that great to eat plain, but it's fine for recipes where there's some added flavor.

  14. You and Sher will have to move over a bit, I want some of this too.

  15. I am glad, that I don't have to try the salad. It may be edible with parsley ;-)

  16. The controversy continues! I see we have Neil on the side of the cilantro-lovers and Ulrike firmly aligned with the cilantro-haters! Luckily I love parsley too, so I can keep a foot in both camps.

  17. Oh this looks so very good. Definitely a tagger.

  18. Yummy recipe as usual. I love salads, and I`ll try your avocado recipe! :)

  19. Thanks so much for this recipe. I made it this weekend and it was oh-so-yummy. I'm not a radish fan so I substituted jicama for a bit of crunch. Yum!

  20. Thanks Lisa and Helene. Millie, I love the idea of jicama. I'll try it that way too!


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