I’ve been dreaming of a lazy, mid-morning picnic for the longest time now; dreaming of sitting legs-crossed, feet bare on the comfy-cozy set up of a soft blanket laid carefully on the cool, yet slightly damp grass. The romantic in me simply adores the activity of packing up a little basket of various goodies and taking it along with me for a leisurely little outdoor eating experience in a quiet park, or on a gently sloping green hillside under the protective shade of a wise old oak tree. Food out of a picnic basket just tastes so very good; perhaps it’s because its being enjoyed in the fresh air while the breeze gently lulls, or maybe it’s the variety of tasty little morsels that are brought along, some sweet and some savory. A picnic seems like the perfect simple pleasure, and that’s exactly what I love about it.
Cool, creamy chicken salad is an absolute favorite of mine to bring along to enjoy on a dreamy-day picnic. The crunch of rich, nutty cashews, the tart sweetness of dried Montmorency cherries, and the fresh, slightly licorice flavor of tarragon leaves creates a perfectly sweet-savory salad to stuff generously into a buttery croissant; it makes for a delectably flaky and puffy-soft pillow of a sandwich that just melts in the mouth, each bite containing little bits of comfort and surprise to tantalize the taste buds. Classic and simply prepared, sweetly savory chicken salad croissant sandwiches go hand in hand with fresh, chilled fruit and the tangy notes of cold, homemade lemonade poured into ice-packed cups—together, they create the wonderfully fresh taste of summer time outdoors.
The quiet solitude of a peaceful picnic brunch is the very thing that draws me to want to pack up a small, sumptuous feast to enjoy while getting lost in my thoughts as the butterflies flutter by, and the bees buzz past. Escaping for an hour to a place where nothing is required apart from delicious enjoyment of simple serenity is time well spent. The possibility of a picnic brings out the little girl in me, and gives brighter enthusiasm for a mid-week day.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Sweetly Savory Tarragon Chicken Salad with Roasted Cashews and Dried Cherries on Toasted, Buttery Croissant
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(Serves 4, or 8 mini croissants)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked, cooled and diced small
¼ cup, plus 2 tablespoons, real mayonnaise
¼ cup, heaping, roasted cashews, chopped
¼ cup dried, tart cherries (Montmorency)
1 ½ tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, finely chopped (or 1 ½ teaspoon dried tarragon)
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon lemon zest
¼ teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
• Pinch black pepper
• Small dash ground cinnamon
4 croissants (or 8 mini croissants), cut in half and lightly toasted
2 cups wild arugula leaves
-Combine the cooked and cooled, diced chicken breasts with the remainder of the ingredients through the ground cinnamon in a large bowl, and mix thoroughly to incorporate well; add about ½ cup of the wild arugula leaves to the bottom half of each of the toasted croissants (if using 4 large ones, ¼ cup arugula if using mini), and add generous, equal portions of the Tarragon Chicken Salad over the greens, cover with the toasted top half of the croissant, and serve cold; pairs well with a fresh melon and berry salad.