Yield
Serves 4 to 6
Time
15 minutes prep, 20 minutes cooking, 35 minutes total

Vietnamese restaurants taught us to love the fresh roll-upa cup of lettuce, some cunningly spiced meat, raw vegetables and leaves of basil and fresh corianderwhat a way eat, especially now. You can stretch a little bit of this and that into a generous, lovely little feast of Asian-style finger food.

Here, the feast centers on the takeout chicken. With chutney, lemon, herbs, and almonds, the plebeian bird emerges as the classiest of chicken salads. Add the Vietnamese elements, and there’s no need to turn on the stove.

The chicken salad is better if made a day ahead, but don't add the nuts until serving time.

Chicken Salad:

  • One 3-pound roasted chicken (take-out works here)
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • Grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • Juice of 3 large lemons, or more to taste
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and minced, or hot sauce to taste
  • 9-ounce jar Major Grey Chutney, cut into bite-size pieces if necessary
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 large stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 cup whole salted almonds, coarse chopped

Lettuce Cups and Herbs:

  • 1 large head Bibb lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried
  • 1 large bunch fresh basil, washed and dried
  • 1 large bunch fresh coriander, washed and dried
  • 8 radishes, thin sliced
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced into thin rounds or 2-inch sticks

Instructions

Pull the meat from the chicken carcass, discarding the skin and bones. Cut it into bite-sized pieces.

In a large bowl combine the onions, lemon zest and juice, jalapeno, chutney, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Fold in the chicken. Taste the mix for lemon, mayonnaise, and herbs, adding more as needed. Let it stand 20 minutes to blend flavors, or refrigerate overnight.

To serve, blend the celery and nuts into the chicken mixture. Mound the salad at one side of a big platter. Pile up the lettuce leaves at the other side, and cluster sprigs of herbs in the center. Tuck the radishes and cucumbers next to the herbs.

Put a few herb leaves in the bottom of a lettuce "cup," top them with a spoonful of the salad, a slice each of radish and cucumber, and roll up.

From The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift, Clarkson Potter, 2008.