This chicken salad is packed with flavor! The duqqa spice blend adds taste and texture and the tahini mayo brings a creamy, nutty richness to the dish.
Swap option: Use leftover shredded roasted chicken to save time.
Duqqa spice blend (makes about 2 cups)
- 1 head garlic
- 1 large shallot
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup raw pistachios
- 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds, toasted
- 1½ tablespoons pink peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon Maldon or other flaky sea salt
- 2 teaspoons ground sumac
- 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper
Tahini mayo (makes about 1 cup)
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup raw tahini
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Two 4- to 5-pound chickens, skins removed
- 1 gallon water, plus more as needed
- 1/4 cup plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 2 sprigs fresh oregano
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 fresh sage leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1/2 cup tahini mayo
- 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 lemon, zested
- 1/4 cup duqqa spice blend
For the duqqa:
1. Heat the oven to 325°F. Leaving the cloves intact, peel the garlic, trim the ends, and slice it as thinly and evenly as you can. Trim both ends of the shallot, halve it lengthwise, and thinly slice it too. Place both in a cold pan with the oil and set it over low heat until they're a deep, even golden, 30 to 40 minutes; stir occasionally to make sure the heat circulates evenly (this builds flavor without any bitterness, so don't try to speed it up with a higher flame).
2. Roast the pistachios on a rimmed baking sheet while the garlic and shallots cook. Remove them from the oven when they're fragrant, 7 minutes or so.
3. Line a plate with paper towels. Strain the garlic and shallots over a clean bowl and spread them on the plate in an even layer to drain. Wipe out the pan and fill it with the oil from the bowl along with the coriander seeds, black sesame seeds, and white sesame seeds. Toast, still over low heat, until they're crunchy and aromatic, another 8 minutes or so. Drain on the same plate as the shallots and garlic.
4. Add the shallots, garlic, and seeds to a large zip-top bag with the nuts, pink peppercorns, salt, sumac and Aleppo. Pound it with a rolling pin or mallet, just until everything is roughly crushed (if you prefer a more homogenous texture, chop the nuts by hand before you add them to the bag).
For the tahini mayo:
1. Combine the egg yolks, tahini, lemon juice, water and salt, preferably in a food processor and otherwise with a good whisk.
2. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil with the blender still going (or while you whisk vigorously) and continue to blend until it's extremely thick and velvety. Be thorough in this step, because a tight emulsion is the difference between all those flavors hitting you in equal measure rather than having them fall flat.
3. Once the mayonnaise is nice and smooth, you can use it right away or refrigerate it for a couple of days.
For the chicken salad:
1. In a large stockpot, combine the chicken, water, 1/4 cup salt, herbs and garlic. Add the water, topping it off with more if necessary until the chicken is completely submerged. Squeeze in the lemon and drop it in.
2. With the heat on medium-low, bring the pot just up to a mellow simmer, then turn the heat down to low and let the chicken slowly, gently cook with the broth bubbling around it. When you glance into the pot, bubbles should be going under the surface but not actively moving — which is how the meat stays moist.
3. Check the chicken by cutting into the thickest part of the leg; it's ready when it's no longer pink at the center. This can take up to 2 hours, depending on the size of the chicken and the power of your stovetop, but check it after 1 hour and then every 10 or 15 minutes after that. When it's ready, pull the chicken out to cool; strain the broth and save it for another time (you can cool it completely and freeze it).
4. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull all the meat off the bone, being mindful not to bring along the tendons or excess fat. Give it an even chop, then combine it in a bowl with the tahini mayo, scallions, 1/2 teaspoon salt and lemon zest. Stir in the duqqa shortly before serving. This is a great thing to have in the fridge all week, but it's equally good day of.