chicken salad with labneh
Roasting a whole chicken for two means having a certain amount of leftovers (avanzi). Making chicken salad with avanzi di pollo arrosto is not really creative, but using labneh to season it is probably not as common as using, say, maionese (mayonnaise).
Why labneh? Because of a photo of it that I saw in this post by Lucy of Nourish Me. The image of a snow-white ball nestled in white cheesecloth stayed with me and inspired me to follow the instructions on this page and get my own snow-white mass of labneh. I decided to be daring and used non-fat, organic yogurt.
The process of draining yogurt to make labneh was a bit messy. Hanging the wrap of cheesecloth and cloth inside the fridge required the building of a contraption that made access to a section of the fridge difficult for 24 hours, not an ideal situation. Next time I'll be better prepared, and I will use only cloth.
Fortunately, the contraption worked and I got my mass of soft, creamy, deliciously tart labneh. Having never tasted labneh before, I have no idea how my rendition compares to the real thing, but I am not worried: in any case, I like the result of my effort.
The first thing I did with it is sprinkle its surface with slivered fresh basil (basilico). I made a tomato sauce to go with it and the pairing was wonderful. Then came the pollo arrosto, and its leftovers, and the idea of using some labneh as an ingredient of my insalata di pollo.
The chicken being quite tasty of its own, I didn't add much to the salad: a rib of celery, finely chopped; a handful of toasted walnuts, finely chopped as well; a few leaves of lavender mint (menta) and pineapple sage (salvia) fresh from my garden, plus some more basil (besides that already on the labneh), all finely slivered; and a generous sprinkling of freshly-ground black pepper. I spooned some labneh over the diced chicken until the balance of flavors seemed right. The salad made a satisfying dinner.
Warning: I am actually not done with the aftermath of the pollo arrosto, so expect another post on the subject.
Readers of this and many other blogs have learned that Sher of What Did You Eat? died recently of a heart attack. In memory of Sher, Lia of Swirling Notions has organized an online fund raising for WomenHeart, the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease. Visit this page to find out the details of Lia's initiative.