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Weekly recipe: Chicken Salad

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Ingredients

  • 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 1½ pounds total)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 3 small cucumbers
  • 1 bunch small radishes
  • 1 kohlrabi or ½ fennel bulb, 4-inch piece daikon, 1 watermelon radish, or 1 medium beet, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons (or more) red wine vinegar
  • Handful of salted pita chips, lightly crushed

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Recipe Preparation

  • Heat a medium heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium.

  • Meanwhile, place chicken thighs, skin side down, on a work surface. Using a paring knife and working one at a time, cut a ½"-deep slash on both sides of thigh bone. This will help the thighs cook a little more quickly and evenly. If there is excess skin extending beyond thigh meat, trim and add to skillet to render. (If you don’t have any extra chicken fat, a drizzle of olive oil, 1 tsp.

  • Season chicken on both sides with salt and sprinkle with mustard and fennel seeds, patting to adhere. Cook chicken, skin side down, in pan, without turning, until skin is very deeply browned and crisp and chicken is about 75% cooked through, 18–20 minutes. The goal during this stage is to allow the chicken skin to render most of its fat, which you can’t really rush. Some seeds will end up sizzling in the pan instead of staying stuck to the chicken, which is fine and flavors the oil. If it looks or smells like they’re burning, though, skim them out with spoon. Turn chicken and cook on second side until just cooked through, 3–4 minutes longer. Transfer to a platter and let rest 10 minutes.

  • While chicken is cooking and/or resting, cut scallions crosswise into ½" pieces; you can go most of the way up to the dark green tips. Cut cucumbers into 1" pieces. Slice radishes and kohlrabi thin enough to be flexible but still crunchy. Transfer vegetables to a salad bowl you’re planning to serve from and add vinegar and a pinch of salt; toss to combine.

  • Cut chicken into 2 long strips by cutting along both sides of the bone. Slice off whatever meat is attached to the topside and underside of bone. Cut chicken crosswise into 1½–2" pieces.

  • Gently toss warm chicken and pita chips into bowl with vegetables. Taste salad and season with more vinegar and/or salt, as needed.