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Chicken Waldorf Salad

Gee, it’s Thursday and this is the first recipe I’ve posted all week.  I know I promised scallops, but the recipe needs tweaking before I post it (Michele, we were divided about the fermented black beans, which were really salty – I may use regular black beans next time or really cut down on the fermented ones).  It was really good, but still…it needs tweaking.

So, you get what we had last night, which was even better:  Chicken Waldorf Salad.  Made with homemade mayonnaise.

I’ve decided if I’m going to do this low carb thing, I’m going to do it right.  My body does not tolerate soy in large quantities very well, and the vast majority of commercially available mayonnaise is just chock-full of soybean oil, even the ones that claim they’re made with olive oil.  The only other option available to me, at least at the local grocery store, is in the “organic” section and costs $8 for a small jar.

Pardon me, but screw that – I can make mayonnaise at home for a fraction of that cost and it will taste tons better.  So I pulled out my trusty copy of Julia Child’s The Art of French Cooking and looked for her mayonnaise recipe, which I’d never made before.   And didn’t find it.  Because there’s no “condiment” section in the book.  Mayonnaise is under “sauces.”

Fancy that.  Anyhoo, so I’m getting all the ingredients together and begin reading the instructions when I get to the part about whisking it.

By hand.

Continually.

Again, pardon me, but screw that says my right hand, in the midst of an arthritic flare-up.  It’s technology to the rescue as I pull out my stand mixer and fasten the trusty whisk attachment.  Which worked beautifully, so those are the instructions I’m providing.  You can always whisk it by hand, if you wish, and mayonnaise can be made very quickly in a blender or food processor as well.

So, here’s the recipe for the Chicken Waldorf Salad, made with homemade mayonnaise and chicken leftover from the bird we roasted Sunday night, served on a bed of fresh spinach.

Note: I’m cutting vegetable oils out of our diet for many reasons, so I made the mayonnaise completely with olive oil.  You can use a neutral-tasting vegetable oil if you want, or a combination of both, but don’t use an extra-virgin olive oil – the taste is overwhelming.  Use an inexpensive, lighter type.  And you can, of course, use a commercially prepared mayonnaise if you prefer.  Also, the recipe for the mayonnaise makes about 2 1/2 cups, so tightly cover and refrigerate the leftovers for up to 3 days.

Note 2: Yes, there are raw eggs in the mayonnaise.  Use clean, fresh eggs with no cracks, and make sure the yolks don’t come in contact with the shells.  You can also use pasteurized eggs.

Chicken Waldorf Salad

4 main dish servings

2 – 3 cups cooked chicken, cubed

1 apple (I used a Fiji), cored, chopped and tossed with a little lemon juice to prevent browning

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

1 cup red seedless grapes, sliced in half

3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely broken

3/4 to 1 cup mayonnaise

salt and pepper to taste

To make the mayonnaise:

3 yolks at room temperature

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon dry or prepared mustard (I used a good Dijon)

1 3/4 cups light olive oil, vegetable oil or a combination of both

2 tablespoons boiling water

Warm the mixing bowl from the stand mixer in hot water; wipe dry and latch on to the mixer.  Place the egg yolks in the bowl and attach the whisk.  Beat for 1 or 2 minutes until they are thick and sticky.

Add the vinegar or lemon juice, salt and mustard. Beat for 30 seconds more.

Begin adding the oil by drops with a teaspoon, or rest the lip of the measuring cup on the edge of the bowl. Keep your eye on the oil rather than on the mayonnaise. Stop pouring and continue beating every 10 seconds or so, to be sure the egg yolks are absorbing the oil.

After 1/3 to 1/2 cup of oil has been incorporated, the mayonnaise will thicken into a very heavy cream and the crisis of potential curdling is over.  Beat in the remaining oil in a thin, steady stream.  If the mayo becomes too thick and stiff, beat in drops of vinegar or lemon juice to thin it out, then continue with the oil.

Beat the boiling water into the mayonnaise – more anti-curdling insurance. Season to taste.

If not using immediately, scrape it into a small bowl and cover it tightly so a skin will not form on its surface.

Assembling the salad:

Combine all of the salad ingredients – chicken, apple, celery, grapes, walnuts, mayonnaise –  in a large bowl and stir, mixing well.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve on a bed of fresh greens.

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