Mitch Hildman's Parmesan & Basil Chicken Salad

Mitch Hildman was my guest on the show today and he shared his favorite chicken salad with us.  He confesses to loving basil and gravitating to recipes that use basil.  The secret here is fresh - always use fresh basil and garlic when you can, there truly is no substitute.  This also applies to the Parmesan cheese in this recipe, do not use the product you find in the green can - it is NOT the same.  Grated Parmesan works best as opposed to shredded as well, just a tip.  As with all salad recipes - this is better the next day, so try and prepare ahead if you can to let the flavors mellow and marry.  NOTE:  After making this salad myself, I have to say the next time I would not add the celery to the food processor, I would medium dice and add to the salad separately as it elevates the moisture content - I prefer a creamier consistency.

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt & Pepper to season
2 c. mayonnaise
2 c. fresh basil, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 celery stalks, chopped
1 c. grated Parmesan.

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and roast at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.  Let cool, then shred or chop chicken - place into a bowl.

In a food processor, combine mayonnaise, basil, garlic and celery until mixture is smooth.  Add to chicken along with grated Parmesan cheese - toss to combine.  Place into refrigerator and allow to rest overnight so flavors marry.  Serve.

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