1 small chicken, roasted or from rotisserie
1 – 1 1/4 lb small pasta – mostaccioli is my favourite for this.
1 bunch scallions (about 6)
1/2 bunch Italian parsley
1 bunch tarragon
4-5 small centre stalks of celery with leaves
4-5 smallish ripe tomatoes or several dozen cherry tomatoes
1/2 c coarsely chopped almonds
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 C mayonnaise
2-3 T good extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 t grainy Dijon mustard
1 small jar of capers, drained
salt and pepper
Boil the pasta in salted water for about 10 min. until al dente. You want the pasta to still have some nice bite to it – don’t cook it all the way through. I bought a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store – they’re extra juicy, but you can roast your own small chicken. Do it several hours or the day before so it’s cold by the time you need it. Shred the chicken meat (breasts, thighs, legs) and reserve the carcass, wings, etc. for making soup/stocks. In a very large bowl, place the cold pasta and shredded chicken.
Wash and chop the celery. I like using the centre stalks for this because I like the flavour and yellowy colour of the celery leaves. You can also add in a large outside stalk. Wash and slice the scallions on a 30 degree bias, using all the white and green part. Give the parsley and tarragon a medium chop and add all the veggies and herbs to the bowl.
Add the mayonnaise, mustard, and lemon zest to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Then add in the lemon juice and enough olive oil to make a pourable dressing. Taste, and then add in the capers and salt and pepper to taste and stir gently until combined.
Add the dressing to the salad and toss just until coated. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Wash the lettuce, and wash and cut the tomatoes into wedges. Place several lettuce leaves on a salad place, top with the pasta salad, sprinkle with almonds and garnish with tomatoes and a couple whole parsley leaves. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil and grind a little bit of pepper over the top.