Here’s an easy, warm weather and delicious dish for you – good ol’ chicken salad.
Since any salad that has chicken as its main ingredient is called chicken salad, and I have several readers outside the United States, I’m talking about American chicken salad, which is chopped chicken combined with a fat-based binder (usually mayonnaise or salad dressing) and often served as a creamy spread in sandwiches. Any number of things can be added to the chicken and fat – commonly chopped raw vegetables, fruit or nuts.
Mine happens to use all three.
I make chicken salad nearly every time I roast a chicken, especially in warmer weather. You can use canned chicken, of course, but I’ve never cared at all for the taste/texture of it (or the price – the stuff is stupidly expensive) and it’s just as easy to use chopped, leftover chicken. I get at least two extra meals out of a roast chicken when I make chicken salad, even though I rarely eat it on bread – I usually put it on top of a bed of lettuce and eat it like a conventional salad. The last time I made it, though, I just ate it alone.
Anyhoo, this is my basic chicken salad recipe. You can jazz it up any way you like it; I often put chopped apples or pears in it, and use toasted walnuts or pecans (once I even used diced mango and chopped macadamia nuts – Oh. My. Gawd. It was wonderful!).
Note: I used homemade mayo, apple cider vinegar and raw, unfiltered honey the last time I made this, and it was absolutely to die for. You can, of course, use a commercially prepared mayo, plain white vinegar (a white wine or champagne vinegar would be good, too) and sugar or plain clover honey and it will be just fine.
2 cups chopped, cooked chicken
1/2 small red onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared, coarse-grained mustard
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar or honey
2 tablespoons sweet or dill pickle relish, depending on your preference (optional)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, sugar or honey and relish together. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring to blend well. Cover and refrigerate for an hour to allow the flavors to meld.