When I decided to make this salad I was a little confused about the dressing, I knew it was something creamy but not heavy, and it really gave this chicken salad a unique flavor, but obviously, I have no idea what was in that dressing. So I asked my Italian friend, Patrizia, what would an Italian use in a salad like this. And, in true Italian fashion, she said extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. That was a good reminder to keep it simple.
Two items that were featured in the original salad, and didn’t make this version, are tomatoes and focaccia. If you have successfully reintroduced tomatoes in your diet, you can add some, peeled and deseeded, preferably organic and heirloom. If not, just do what I did, this salad doesn’t need them (the balsamic adds both acidity and sweetness). And if you have non-grain, compliant focaccia around, go ahead and serve it with the salad. Obviously, this chicken salad is lectin-free.
For the dressing, I made a balsamic vinaigrette. I am asking the Italian olive oil gods to forgive me, but the olive oil and balsamic I used were Greek because that’s what I use at the moment. I started with one tsp Dijon mustard and one tbsp balsamic vinegar, whisk them and added 4 tbsps of extra virgin olive oil, one by one, whisking to emulsify the oil (another tip from my friend Patrizia). It came out incredibly creamy and with an amazing but subtle flavor.
The rest is pretty simple, you need two pasture raise chicken breasts, cooked. You can cook them any way you like, but I’ll tell you how I did it in case you need help with that. You need some raw mushrooms, one romaine and one Boston lettuce, some black Italian olives. What you usually find in the olive bar probably has some vegetable oils in the brine. And although I used Greek olive oil and vinegar, I would advise against Kalamata olives, because they have a strong specific flavor and will take over your salad. But, if you want it to call it a Greek Chicken salad, go ahead and do it, it will still taste amazing.
The cheese I added is Italian Fontina, it’s a creamy cheese, but not too soft, I feel it fits well with this salad, but you can also use Buffalo mozzarella if you can’t tolerate cow’s milk or even skip the cheese altogether. I only used dry oregano, salt, and pepper to taste (also to cook the chicken breasts).