This dish is inspired by both the gorgeous Colorado cherries currently at the farmer’s market and the fresh tarragon I scored at my first food swap event.
The food swap was fantastic. Mile High Swappers organizes monthly food swap events, where people come to talk food and swap their homemade goodies for others’ homemade goodies.
I took some of my hand blended loose leaf teas to swap, and I came home with pickled blueberries, corn scones, dill bread, quinoa salad, Concord grape jam, habanero jelly, rhubarb syrup, green tomato chutney, and fresh tarragon. It was better than a trip to the farmer’s market!
In searching for a use for the fresh tarragon from the food swap, I stumbled upon a green tea chicken salad recipe in my favorite Culinary Tea cookbook. I took a few elements from this recipe – poaching chicken breasts in green tea, using the steeped tea leaves and fresh tarragon as seasoning, and making a simple dressing from mayo and vinegar – and then changed it up based on what I had on hand.
Poaching the chicken in water with Sencha tea leaves infuses a delicate green tea flavor into the chicken. And adding the steeped tea leaves from the poaching liquid to the salad as a seasoning adds a little more green tea flavor to the dish.
Use this recipe as a guide, and then experiment with what you have in the fridge or what you find at the market. You really can’t go wrong.
Happy cooking and sipping!
Cherry Sencha Chicken Salad
By Suzanne Klein, Tea Foodie. Inspired by the Green Tea Poached Chicken Salad recipe in Culinary Tea by Cynthia Gold and Lisë Stern.
Makes 2 large or 4 small servings
4 cups water
2 tablespoons loose leaf Sencha green tea
2 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 small radish, finely diced
½ cup cherries, pitted and quartered
¼ cup almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, finely chopped
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon light vinegar (e.g. rice wine, champagne)
1. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce to a simmer, and add the loose leaf tea and chicken breasts. Keep at a low simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove chicken from saucepan, allow it to cool, and then shred or cut into bite size pieces. Strain the tea liquid from saucepan, saving the steeped tea leaves. Finely chop about 2 teaspoons of the steeped tea leaves and set aside.
2. Place the celery, radish, cherries, almonds, and tarragon in a medium bowl, and add the chicken pieces and chopped tea leaves. In a small bowl, make the dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise and vinegar until smooth. Add the dressing to the rest of the ingredients, add salt and pepper to taste, and toss to combine. Adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve over a bed of greens or on a slice of homemade bread.
- I like to use a shallot or onion flavored salt, but you could also add fresh, minced shallots, onions or scallions to the salad and season with a plain sea salt.
- The chicken can be poached and refrigerated a day in advance. If preparing in advance, refrigerate the chopped tea leaves as well.
- The prepared salad will keep in the fridge for a couple of days; in fact, the flavors are better infused the next day.
- Try other green teas or a black tea in place of the Sencha. If you try the recipe with black tea, try using a darker vinegar, like red wine or malt.
- Try other fruits in place of the cherries – e.g. apricots, grapes, strawberries, blueberries.
- Try other nuts in place of the almonds – e.g. walnuts, pine nuts, cashews.
- Try other fresh herbs in place of the tarragon – e.g. dill, parsley, mint, sage.