It’s family reunion season in the North, and I needed to bring finger food to a Saturday family gathering. We had grilled extra chicken so I could make grilled chicken salad, all I needed was an interesting way to present it. Putting it on bread or buns just seemed so…. Un-food bloggerish!
My idea to stuff grape tomatoes hit gold when I did an image search in Google and saw posts that turned them into tulips. Perfect! All I needed was grape tomatoes and some green onions. I could make the salad before traveling, then pipe it into the tomatoes quickly as they set up a buffet.
I diced the chicken finely but still wasn’t happy that it would pipe nicely, so I threw it into the Cuisinart and pulsed it a few times. I added the chopped green onions and gave it a few more pulses before removing it from the processor and into a container.
I used a simple mayo, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, pepper and cayenne dressing that I’d whisked together before pouring over the chicken mixture. I stirred well and divided it into two zippered bags. I used the tip I’d learned of folding the bag over a coffee cup, filling it with the salad, then squeezing the air out of the bag before zipping and storing. That works so slick, but I’d have never thought of it on my own.
The next day I put the zippered bags into a plastic container with a cover so it could travel in the cooler without fear of being gouged and creating a mess. I put the grape tomatoes into a zippered bag after I’d washed them; ditto the green onions. My tulips were ready to bloom!
When it was snacking time at the reunion, D’Emily and I cut the grape tomatoes twice almost to the stem end to allow them to open up when the filling was piped in. I cut off a corner of a bag and squirted the chicken salad into the tomato, causing the petals to open and “bloom”. It took a couple of times for me to learn the quickest way to make them look gorgeous, and the platter filled quickly.
The “tulips” were a great way to serve chicken salad, and wise munching for those who like to avoid the carbs in breads and rolls. The few leftovers went back into a zippered bag and were transported home for a midnight snack.
My guess is that the two cups of chicken salad the recipe produced would make about 100 tulips. I only made about 50 and had a full bag of salad left which we used on buns later.
Grilled Chicken Salad Tulips
2 large chicken breasts; grilled and chilled
¼ cup green onions; thinly sliced
1 cup mayo; or more as desired
Pinch garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
50-100 grape tomatoes; I used red, yellow would also be pretty
1 bunch green onions; stems only
Remove chicken from bones and dice finely or process in pulses in a food processor. Add green onions and pulse again.
Whisk together rest of ingredients and stir into chicken mixture until well coated. Divide salad into two small zippered bags. Refrigerate until needed.
Cut grape tomatoes twice, almost to the stem end, so that they look like they are quartered. Refrigerate until needed.
Shortly before serving, cut the tip off one corner of the zippered bag and pipe the filling into each grape tomato. Don’t overfill, but fill fairly full depending on the size of your tomatoes. Place them at the ends of a draped bunch of green onions that symbolize the tulips’ stalks. Serve.