Eating chicken salad is just like trust falling into someone’s arms. For this comparison to work, we need to be on the same page about what a trust fall is.
This is a trust fall, except you fall backwards, someone catches you, and you cry less (hopefully).
Chicken Salad is just like a trust fall because, likes arms outstretched, you must trust that the chicken salad chef has cooked the chicken well, chopped it thoughtfully, and ensured that no weird gristles or fatty pieces sneak their way into the salad because that ruins everything… absolutely everything.
You must trust. Or just be like me and make your own chicken salad because life is about managing control issues and trust issues and stumbling and salad.
Here’s the start:
Mayonnaise and plain yogurt. Dijon mustard and a dash of buttermilk. You can use either buttermilk or half and half. I like a little something other than thick mayo and yogurt to extent the creaminess and and some viscosity.
Big flakey sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper plus cayenne pepper. We like spice.
Whisk it up to smooth before adding all of the chicken salad fixins.
Chicken is key. I don’t need to tell you that do I?
I use two boneless skinless chicken breasts, poached, cooled, and coarsely chopped.
Here’s how to poach chicken breasts from The Kitchn. They make cooking much easier. Once I learned how to poach chicken without ending up with two mockingly rubber chicken pieces, boneless/skinless adventures got easier.
Fruit (grapes are great, and blueberries would be mighty fine too!) and herb (parsley is great and dill would be a nice addition) add sweet and savory notes, freshness and crunch.
Green onions and celery or cucumber. Celery is traditional but anything crunchy and green in your fridge might/could do. We’re walking the line between refrigerator dump and fine-lady-salads.
Stir and taste. Stir and refrigerate. This salad is best served chilled after a few hours in the fridge allowing for the flavors to meld.
This creamy summer salad could be a fridge staple. Or you could eat it standing in front of the fridge like I do because formalities are silly when you don’t even have pants on.
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, poached and cooled
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced (cucumber is nice if you're out of celery)
- 1/2 cup sliced green onions
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 heaping cup halved purple grapes
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons half and half or buttermilk
- sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Salad greens or toasted bread for serving
- Coarsely chop cooled poached chicken. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, half and half or buttermilk, salt and pepper, and cayenne. Taste and season according to your taste.
- Add the chopped chicken, celery or cucumber, green onions, parsley, and grapes. Toss. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy over salad greens or toasted bread.