Sunday, April 28, 2013

Chicken, Lettuce, and Mayonnaise Salad

Chicken, Lettuce, and Mayonnaise Salad with Bacon Garnish

Bacon and Black Pepper Add Zip to this Main-Course Salad

We often think of salads as starters, but they can make great main-course dishes too. Chef’s Salad is a classic luncheon or light supper entrée. Ditto Salade Niçoise. And don't forget that great take on the bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, the BLT Salad.

Looking for another entrée salad? Try this flavorful and filling Chicken, Lettuce, and Mayonnaise Salad. Brighten it up with some ripe tomatoes, and flavor it up with freshly ground black pepper and bacon garnish, and you’ve got a complete dinner. Well, almost — you might want to add a hunk of bread and maybe a glass of wine.

This dish is simple, convenient (you can even use supermarket rotisserie chicken), and quick to make. So it’s perfect for those evenings when you don’t have a lot of time to get dinner on the table, but want a home meal and not take-out.

Chicken, Lettuce, and Mayonnaise Salad with Bacon Garnish

Recipe:  Chicken, Lettuce, and Mayonnaise Salad

This dish is particularly tasty when made with your own Homemade Mayonnaise and leftover Roast Chicken. But it’s almost as good with store-bought mayonnaise and supermarket rotisserie chicken. And do load it up with freshly ground black pepper — it’s wonderful in this dish.

The ingredients for this salad are similar to those used in a club sandwich — except we’re substituting chicken for the turkey, 86ing the bread, and going heavy on the lettuce.  But add some croutons, and you could probably call this a Club Sandwich Salad!

I’ve seen variants of this salad for years.  But I originally got the inspiration ages ago from a salad served at the now-defunct Lettuce Leaf restaurant in St. Louis (their version didn’t include bacon, but otherwise was virtually identical).

I’ve written this recipe to serve two, but you can easily scale it up to feed more.  Assuming you’ve already washed, dried, and crisped your lettuce (it takes at least an hour to cool), this salad requires about 10 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients
  • ~½ - ¾ pound of lettuce (or to taste; you can use leaf lettuce, romaine, Boston bibb, Little Gem, or a mix; see Notes)
  • 2 - 4 slices of high-quality bacon (optional; see Notes for more about bacon)
  • ~8 ounces of chicken (leftover roast, poached, or supermarket rotisserie chicken is ideal)
  • 1 - 2 handfuls of cherry or grape tomatoes (or if regular tomatoes are in season, use 3 or so medium-sized vine-ripened tomatoes)
  • 3 - 6 tablespoons of Homemade Mayonnaise (or substitute store-bought; or use another creamy dressing, such as bleu cheese)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (use black pepper generously — its flavor stars in this dish)
Procedure
  1. At least an hour (2 or more is better) before you want to serve the salad, wash and dry the lettuce, and tear it into bite-size pieces.  Wrap the lettuce in a kitchen towel, and place in the refrigerator crisper to, well, crisp.
  2. When ready to make the salad, prepare the bacon.  I usually microwave it:  Just put paper towels on a plate, arrange the bacon in a single layer, add another paper towel or two on top, and microwave.  (If you’re doubling this recipe, you’ll need to do the bacon in two batches.)  Cooking time depends on your oven and the amount of bacon you’re heating, so experimentation is necessary, but it typically takes 4 to 5 minutes in my microwave.  Alternatively, you can pan fry the bacon until crisp.  When done, either leave the bacon slices whole, or cut into 1-inch pieces.
  3. While bacon is cooking, chunk up the chicken into bite-size pieces.  Wash the tomatoes (if using whole tomatoes, stem and slice them, and cut into wedges).
  4. Place lettuce in a large bowl.  Add mayonnaise — less than you think you’ll need.  Toss lettuce thoroughly to coat leaves lightly with dressing.  Taste, and add more dressing if necessary.  (Particularly when using a high-flavor dressing like bleu cheese, you don’t want the taste of the dressing to overwhelm the salad).
  5. Add chicken and toss again, adding more dressing if necessary.
  6. Add salt and black pepper to taste (use lots of black pepper).  Toss to incorporate, then place greens on 2 dinner-size plates.
  7. Arrange the bacon and tomatoes over the salad greens in a pattern that pleases you.  I often add an extra dollop of mayonnaise on top of the salad, as a “dipping” sauce for the tomatoes.  Grind a bit more black pepper over the salad, and serve.
Chicken, Lettuce, and Mayonnaise Salad with Bacon Garnish

Notes
  • For years, romaine and leaf lettuce were my go-to greens for this salad.  But many supermarkets are now carrying an improved alternative:  Little Gem lettuce, a hybrid of romaine, sweet butter, and iceberg butter (it’s also called Sweet Gem.)  Little Gems, which look a bit like miniature romaine lettuce heads, have wonderful flavor.  In fact, I’m so bowled over by the taste and texture of this lettuce that I now use it all the time.  It’s worth looking for.
  • This salad is terrific with leftover roast chicken (white or dark meat, your choice).  It might be even better if you happen to have leftover poached chicken (the meat will be juicier).  In fact, I’ve been known to poach a chicken just so I’d have the meat to use in this salad!
  • Bacon is an important ingredient for this salad, so make sure you use good quality.  I always use a premium brand of bacon when making this salad because the flavor is so much better.  Supermarkets tend to carry the usual national brands, but most also offer at least one higher-quality (and more expensive) choice.  Experiment until you find one you like.  If you can find a bacon made by a small, local producer, it’s likely to be excellent.
  • Bacon with a pepper crust is excellent in this salad (and in just about anything else that calls for bacon). 
  • Fresh, ripe tomatoes add important flavor to this dish, so add as many as you like.  If you don’t have access to ripe, in-season tomatoes, you can substitute grape or cherry tomatoes, which usually have decent flavor year-round.  In fact, that’s what I generally use, because really good tomatoes are available for only a few weeks each summer.
  • I’ve said it already, but I’m going to repeat myself because it’s important:  Black pepper (freshly ground, please) adds a wonderful note to this salad.  Make sure you use lots.
Chicken, Lettuce, and Mayonnaise Salad with Bacon Garnish

Salad Daze

“Mmm,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs as she dug into her Chicken, Lettuce, and Mayonnaise salad, “I love all the black pepper.”

“It makes the dish,” I agreed as I took a sip of the white wine we were drinking with dinner.  “I may have said that already.”

“I think maybe once or twice,” said Mrs K R. 

She took another — sizable — bite.  “Gosh we’ve done some nice salads this month!  For a main course, I can’t decide whether I prefer this one or a big serving of Salade Frisée aux Lardons.

“Tough to choose,” I said as I pondered. “With Homemade Mayonnaise, this Chicken, Lettuce, and Mayo salad is hard to beat. It’s a close call, though. And it’s equally hard to choose among the starters. I’ll never turn down a Caesar Salad, but that Shaved Artichoke and Mushroom Salad is sensational.”

“It is!” enthused Mrs K R. “But I kinda fancy those Moroccan salads. That Moroccan Carrot Salad is wonderful. And the Moroccan Orange and Radish Salad is so unusual and seasonal. Plus you can serve both of them as starters or as side dishes.”

“Yeah, they really are versatile,” I observed. “Not to mention tasty. But we’ve had so many different ones in the last few weeks, I’m in a daze at the moment.”

Mrs K R raised her glass in a toast, “To our salad daze!”

I’ll drink to that.

You may also enjoy reading about:
Homemade Mayonnaise
Roast Chicken
Moroccan Carrot Salad
Moroccan Orange and Radish Salad
Shaved Artichoke and Mushroom Salad
Salade Frisée aux Lardons
Caesar Salad
Chopped Kale Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing
Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
Hungarian Cucumber Salad
Shaved Fennel Salad
Taco Salad
Creamy Coleslaw
Summer Pasta Salad
BLT Salad
American (Mayonnaise) Potato salad
Tuna Pasta Salad

82 comments:

  1. Wow! In love with the second salad shot: dark, sexy and seductive !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Suborna, it was tough deciding whether I liked the first or second shot better. I finally went with the light one for the top shot because I do so many dark ones, and it's nice to change things up. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  2. You may have said chicken but bacon caught my eye! I love main course salads; could eat them almost every night during the months when fresh veggies are in season...and this one looks terrific!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Barb, bacon garnish really does catch the eye, doesn't it? Which of course is why I add it (well, and it tastes wonderful, too!). We eat a ton of main course salads at this time of the year - so good! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  3. Loving all the salad posts, John! The weather is warming up nicely and it evens feels good to see salads on the computer screen! This salad is great and I agree with the excess black pepper, I think with mayo dressings, it goes wonderfully.
    Can't wait to see more salads!

    Nazneen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nazneen, we've been a bit salad-crazed lately, I must admit! I'll be doing more in a bit, but will take a break from them for the next little bit. But when the weather warms, I'm with you on craving salads! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  4. I love your pictures and recipes. I'd like to inform you of a great new website www.foodieportal.com. I would like to invite you to come and join us and share your wonderful pictures with us. We are simply foodies and we are not photography snobs, so picture perfection is not important, all we care about is delicious food.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Such a colourful and flavoursome salad my friend, love how innovative it is :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Uru, it's really a lovely salad! So flavorful. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  6. This is a really beautiful salad !
    And the bacon looks absolutely perfect

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sketched Chef, it's really a great salad. And I agree the bacon is a super garnish. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  7. When I read the title to this salad I was thinking how some crispy bacon would go very well with it. And then I saw the images! Like you say, this is a great dinner especially with a glass of wine and a dinner roll. Looks very yummy xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Charlie, bacon really is a nice added touch. And it's a super meal. Thanks for the commet.

      Delete
  8. This looks wonderful and of course, everything's better with bacon! I love salads and always love to find yummy new versions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Chris, this is really a salad that's worth making. Loads of flavor, and enough meat to satisfy those that think a meal isn't complete without meat! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  9. Thanks for the tip on Little Gem/Sweet Gem - am puzzled that I've never noticed them before! We go through lettuce like crazy, a new kind is always welcome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Alanna, Little Gem is really a jewel. ;-) I think you'll like it. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  10. Sounds great to me with wine and bread included :) We do just that when we are really tired to cook during the week. Now that it is summer, we grill a lot too to go with salad. Bacon is a good addition:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ilke, hard to go wrong with bacon! During the warm weather dinner often is something grilled and a salad (or something grilled in a salad!). Great way to eat. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  11. I knew the mayo would be back. What a fresh looking salad and I love that American bacon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Maureen, I was pretty predictable about the mayo, wasn't I? ;-) It's a great salad, and the bacon looks and tastes great! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  12. I could see myself eating this salad for the main course. I love the chicken and bacon that are on this salad, such a great combination.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dawn, this really is a terrific salad! Truly main course. Thanks for the commet.

      Delete
  13. A BCLT salad! ;)
    I'd definitely enjoy that for a one-dish dinner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Carolyn, lol! It is a BCLT salad! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  14. I love salad as an entree. :) I probably can eat that everyday and be a happy camper. I've got to try your homemade mayo and make this salad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Amy, you really should try homemade mayo - it's amazing. As is this salad. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  15. The blue and white napkin - now I recognize it! Love it :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Alyssa, yup, you've got it! (And everyone that's mystified by Alyssa's comment, just go read my comment on her post on food blogger prop swaps.) Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  16. This salad looks wow...
    I love mayo, sometime i do substitute yogurt for it but when it comes to such classic salad Mayo is the way to go!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Reem, yogurt works well in something like this, and of course is healthier. But for this dish - which most definitely is not a low-cal dish - mayo is wonderful. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  17. I am in the heat and I need more salad ideas!! You are rescuing me here John, I had forgotten that I could make a mayo based salad. ^.^ happens with all those indian ingredients at hand... Anyway, great salad and I am looking forward to make it 2morrow for lunch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Helene, I haven't done it, but I've wondered how this salad would be with leftover tandoori chicken and maybe some spicy potatoes. I think it'd be good - I need to experiment! But I doubt if that version would be as good as the version I posted about here - it's wonderful! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  18. I haven't met a salad with bacon yet that I didn't like. As the weather FINALLY turns warmer here, salads are often on the menu and this is the type of salad that works as a starter or an entree. Great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Judy, bacon is such a great ingredient, isn't it? ;-) And I'm so ready for some salad weather rather than the wintry temperatures we've been experiencing for way too long! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  19. I've been craving salads lately, John, so this post could not be better timed. With Spring arriving so late this year, I want to see green again on some level. If I cannot see it outside, then let me have it on a plate. A filling salad like this one, with both chicken & bacon, would be very welcome now and again in Summer when it's too hot to fire up the stove.Yo're right, too, about selecting a better bacon. I don't use near as much as I once did and have upgraded. This was a fine post, John, and your photos well shot. Nicely done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi John, good bacon really makes a huge difference, and I do eat a bit less of it than I otherwise might. I've really been craving salads lately, as if you couldn't tell! Thanks for the kind words, and comment.

      Delete
  20. I'm a real salad girl myself so I would be happy with any of the salads you have prepared so far...they all sound terrific.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Karen, I love salads, so I've been having fun making quite a few! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  21. Beautiful salad John, and I am sure that the homemade mayonnaise must taste great in this salad...I love mayo, I even dip French fries in it :)
    Have a lovely week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Juliana, mayo and French fries is a pretty good combo! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  22. That is beautiful and simple salad, with crispy bacon. going to yumm. Glad to meet you through MJ's blog. I will come back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Swathi, welcome! It's a great salad, and so tasty! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  23. This is indeed a simple salad but with that bacon. . . it is definitely flavorful. We always use rotisserie chicken from the supermarket for salad. It is cooked right and very afordable. Thank you for this post, John. That bacon is staring at me. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ray, yeah, that bacon keeps staring at me, too! It's really a nice combo of flavors. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  24. A mouthwatering salad and tasty combination!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rosa, it really is a wonderful salad, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  25. This salad has to be good - it's got bacon! :) Bobby and I love making salads like this once the weather starts warming up. Tonight I'm doing something similar with leftover grilled steak. I wouldn't have thought of just using mayo as the dressing, but I bet the homemade mayo is delicious as a dressing. Well, I guess today is the day I try homemade mayonnaise! You certainly have taken some very simple ingredients and created a delicious salad!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi MJ, simple is about all I can handle! ;-) And this salad is superb with homemade mayo. We do a similar salad with grilled steak sometimes too - a great way to use it! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  26. John - I agree that main dish salads are such a great idea. We have them often, and this one looks so good - it has bacon after all!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Donalyn, at this time of the year I'm especially fond of main dish salads. Although we eat them throughout the year. And you can't beat bacon! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  27. I love the idea of this; just like the sandwich but without the bread!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Caroline, it really is a club sandwich salad! And so delish. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  28. There is nothing like fresh mayo. And great bacon. And perfect lettuce. And I love those teeny tomatoes. The essentials are there. The taste must be sublime!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Abbe, fresh mayo + bacon = mouth bliss! Such a good combo. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  29. I always love mayo, lettuce, tomato and GOOD bacon in sandwich. I need to check your homemade mayo and make this salad!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nami, good bacon makes all the difference in the world! And it certainly helps make this salad. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  30. Salad can totaly make a main course, it does in my house :) I love BLT sandwich, when I was lately in San Francisco I had the best one in my life. Plus mayo makes salad soooo good :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Marta, San Francisco is a wonderful eating town, isn't it? We eat main course salads all the time, particularly in warm weather. Which we're finally enjoying! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  31. This salad looks just perfect,John!
    It's fresh and crunchy and has great colors.
    And as I have one of those busy evenings today, I'll prepare it right now.
    Thanks for saving tonight's dinner :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Daniela, always happy to help out! And I hope you enjoy it (heck, I know you will!). Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  32. You had me at the bacon strips. It looks crunchy and mmmm good. Been on salad daze too and thank you for all the inspirations I get from your posts. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Malou, that bacon really is a draw, isn't it? ;-) And I'm thoroughly enjoying being caught in a salad daze! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  33. Yes, I agree that using homemade Mayonnaise is best for this salad. It is so simple to make and (I hate to admit it) it tastes so good that I can eat a lot of it directly out of the container! I recently visited the U.S. and someone in my family made a chicken salad using already cooked and sliced chicken pieces from COSTCO- I was surprised at how tasty it was!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Fran, I know what you mean about eating it right from the mixing bowl or storage container! Not that I've ever done that. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  34. Replies
    1. Hi Lail, isn't it good? ;-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  35. Replies
    1. Hi Kristi, hard to go wrong with bacon! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  36. Your homemade mayonnaise has to make this salad totally fresh and fantastic with that crispy bacon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kristi, the homemade mayo really is wonderful on this dish. With loads of pepper. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  37. This looks wonderful - so simple, but it's making my mouth water! Interesting though, as I don't usually pepper mine; next time I'll be sure to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Beth, the pepper really adds something. Do add some - I think you'll enjoy it. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  38. Fantastic recipe, John! And less guilt than my favorite club sandwich :)

    PS...thanks for your kind words of sympathy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Liz, much less guilt! Although you still have that mayo to worry about. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  39. Fabulous, John! I do love main course salads and this sounds marvelous. You really have shared a lovely selection of salads over the past month! Thanks so much for all the inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Hannah, this really is a great main course salad. Glad you enjoyed all the salads, and thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  40. This salad reminds me of BLT sandwich. Yum!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kiran, it's really similar! Although with the chicken, more like a Club Sandwich, IMO. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  41. Hi John, that's an awesome salad. Very colourful and so inviting. I love bacon and yours very well done. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.
    Great for lunch. Regards.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Amelia, this is such a flavorful salad! Really wonderful combo of flavors - well worth making. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete