Chicken salad, for me, is one of those catch-all dishes that can be modified for anyone's personal taste, preference, need, or ingredient availability. It's my cold, low-carb fried rice. I love fried rice, but that's another post for another time.
I generally don't enjoy chicken unless:
- it is cooked really moist
- it has crispy textured skin
- it is not breast meat
- it is doused in sauce
or any combination of the above.
My chicken salads are born out of not wanting to waste perfectly edible protein resulting from brewing a batch of homemade chicken stock. I guess we can call the mayonnaise the sauce and the add-ins the texture.
The ingredients change each time I make chicken salad depending on what I have on hand and what I'm feeling. There is always:
- added fat in the form of some kind of dressing or emulsification (most of the time it is mayo) but not so much that the chicken is drowning in it.
- crunch from vegetables and/or nuts
- sweetness from dried fruit
- a little something special
The lemon zest and currants were this week's specials. Lemon zest to trick myself that the weather outside is more refreshing than it is (c'mon Spring, it's the midde of May!) and currants because they are delightfully tiny, intense bites of syrupy, raisiny goodness.
Chicken Salad #1
- shredded chicken from half a chicken
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp deli mustard
- lemon zest from half a lemon
- 1/4 red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 celery rib, finely diced
- 1/4 cup roasted and salted almonds, chopped
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup dried currants
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Throw it all in a bowl and mix it together.
Yield: 6 sandwiches worth.