Your best chicken salad recipe
Here's a great curried chicken salad. It was published in Penzey's catalog a number of years ago. Every summer I join friends for an outdoor concert and I'm specificall requested (ordered!) to bring this salad. Here's a paraphrase:
Chicken Salad with Curry-Ginger Dressing
1 lb. bone-in chicken breasts
2 whole bay leaves
2 TB. vegetable oil
1 tsp. brown mustard seed
2 tsp. sweet curry powder
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 TB. crystallized ginger, finely minced
1/2 cup regular or low fat mayonnaise
2 TB. rice vinegar
1 TB. honey
1/2 tsp. salt (to taste)
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup quartered seedless grapes
To ensure juicy chicken, cook it the evening before making the salad. Cover chicken with water and add bay leaves. Bring to a bare simmer and cook 30 minutes. Don’t boil the chicken, or it will be tough. Put the whole pot of water in the fridge and let the chicken cool overnight.
Cook mustard seed in oil until they start to pop, about a minute. Add the curry powder, stir, remove and stir again. Cool for about 5 minutes.
Skin and bone the chicken and chop into bite-sized squares. Whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, honey and curry/mustard mix. Toss with chicken, chopped pecans and minced crystallized ginger. Add S&P to taste and put in fridge until ready to serve.
Just before serving, quarter the grapes and toss with the chicken salad. If you add the grapes too soon, the juice thins the sauce but it will still taste good.
When it was beastly hot and humid last week I made the Golden Jubilee Chicken Salad from the July book of the month, 2nd. courses. It was perfect and quite refreshing. If you go to the July Book of the Month on Home Cooking, 2nd courses you can see a couple of pix. 2 of us made it aboutthe same time.
This is not radically unique, but it is my main recipe and is really, really good. Grilled chicken makes the best chicken salad, IMHO.
You can grill the chicken on a grill pan if need be, but this recipe works best if the chicken is grilled outdoors. All measurements are just guidelines, I never measure when I do it, just chop and toss and taste. If I am grilling anything outdoors, I usually grill some chicken along with whatever else I am grilling to make this salad the next day.
GRILLED CHICKEN SALAD
Marinate 4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless) in olive oil, salt and pepper, juice of one lemon, and thyme, overnight or for a couple of hours. Grill the chicken, let cool, then dice into bite-sized chunks.
Toss the chicken with:
1/4 lb SMOKED Gouda cheese, diced (this really makes the recipe)
2 ribs celery, with leaves, chopped
1 small sweet onion, chopped
Toasted walnut pieces
Red Seedless grapes, halved
Mayonnaise (I go light on the mayo)
Zest of one lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Let the sald sit for an hour or so, it gets better with age. I