Attention Chicago friends, you have a new resource for all things cookbookery at 2142 N. Halsted St in Lincoln Park. If you are as recipe obsessed as I am, set aside some time to browse through some 4000 cookbooks, neatly organized by theme at Read It And Eat, a charming bookshop that also has a beautiful demonstration kitchen and large dining table for visiting cookbook authors and, I assume, events and tastings.
After an absurd amount of time perusing the options, I finally settled upon Salmagundi, by Sally Butcher. It’s a beautifully photographed book with the subtitle “A Celebration of Salads From around the World” and in it I saw promises of lots of new flavors for our summertime salads.
Once back home in North Carolina, it was a task to choose one of the 15o recipes to sample first. The “Bavarian-Style Kartoffelsalat” (potato salad) caught my eye as did the “Red Rice Salad with Sushi and Wasabi Dressing.
But then I saw the “Tarragon Salad with Southern Fried Chicken” and it was clear; what better way to test this author and her comprehensive tome of salad recipes than to see how she is representing my own neck of the woods?
And it was a winner… a keeper… a fried chicken salad that is most definitely a notch above.
I show it above in a slightly deconstructed format as I like to serve salads with lots of ingredients this way so that each person can compose their own plate to their liking. But the magic you’ll find here is in the buttermilk brined/cornmeal crusted chicken breast, super tender and perfectly seasoned, and the light vinegar based buttermilk dressing flavored with fresh tarragon.
The textures and flavors in this salad will please adults and kids alike, making it the perfect lunch or supper for summertime entertaining.
I’m very much looking forward to my next experiment from Salmagundi and don’t forget to visit Read It And Eat next time you are in Chicago!