Upgrade Your Chicken Salad, Never Look Back

Don't you dare try to tell us chicken salad is boring.
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by Rochelle Bilow

Don't you dare try to tell us chicken salad is boring -- this version with crème fraîche, fava beans, and cucumber knocks it out of the park.


We'd serve this dressed-down chicken salad for brunch, pack it for lunch, or make it as a light dinner on a hot summer night.


  • 1 large skin-on, bone-in chicken breast (12-14 oz.)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup fresh fava beans (from about 3/4 lb. pods) or frozen, thawed
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/2 small English hothouse cucumber, very thinly sliced lengthwise on a mandoline
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 8 slices Danish rye bread or other dense health bread, toasted if desired
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place chicken on a small rimmed baking sheet and rub with 1 Tbsp. oil; season with kosher salt and pepper. Roast until golden brown and cooked through, 25-30 minutes. Let cool, then shred into bite-size pieces.

If using fresh fava beans, cook in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Drain and peel. (If using frozen fava beans, cook 2 minutes; transfer to a bowl of ice water, then drain.) Toss in a large bowl with fennel, scallion, tarragon, vinegar, chicken, and remaining 3 Tbsp. oil; season with kosher salt, pepper, and more vinegar, if desired.

Meanwhile, whisk crème fraîche in a medium bowl to soft peaks (it will look fluffy); season with kosher salt.

Toss cucumber with parsley, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small bowl; season with kosher salt and pepper.

Serve chicken salad with bread, cucumber, and a dollop of crème fraîche, topped with sea salt and more pepper.

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