Make aioli from scratch (I love the recipe in The Zuni Café Cookbook, and this one by Naomi Pomeroy), or use your favorite brand of mayo—the silkier and fattier, the better (though it’ll be great with whatever you have on hand).
P.S. This recipe doubles and triples like a champ. If you’re mixing garlic and mayo, keep it to two small cloves max of grated garlic—it’s just an accent here. —Julia Clancy
boneless, skinless chicken breasts
kosher salt, divided, plus more for salad
olive oil, plus more for salad
aioli or 1/4 cup mayo + 1 small garlic clove, grated
Pat chicken breasts dry; toss with 1/4 teaspoon salt and enough olive oil to give it a slick coat (about 1 tablespoon).
Preheat grill to medium-high (or set a grill pan over medium-high heat on the stove). Oil the grill grates (or the pan). Grill chicken, turning once, until cooked through and darkly burnished with grill marks, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Rest 5 minutes.
While the chicken is resting, add aioli (if using) or garlicky mayo to a large bowl; mix in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the zest and juice of the lemon.
Cut chicken into slices about 3/4-inch thick; using the tines of two forks, pull each piece into two or three coarse hunks. Add chicken and any accumulated juices to aioli dressing. Toss to coat. Pile over greens tossed with lemon, olive oil, and salt.
Alternate serving options: If not having in a salad, layer chicken between slices of toasted bread or a soft, seeded bun. Or enjoy as is, with or without chopped fresh herbs scattered on top.
Julia Clancy is a nationally published writer, editor and recipe developer with over a decade of experience as a chef, both privately and in restaurants. She writes about people and place through the lens of food and drink. She was recently the restaurant critic at Boston Magazine, and her current work has appeared in Food 52, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, Thrillist and Craft Beer, among many others.