Saturday, February 14, 2009

Part 3: Making Chicken Salad

So, six weeks ago, after I wrote about poaching the chicken for my chicken salad, I made chicken salad.

Now I don't know what your chicken salad experience has been like; you may like the IDEA of chicken salad--chicken, delicious mayo dressing, crunchy bits of celery--but the REALITY of your experience may have fallen short.

Because, face it, sometimes chicken salad is...BLAH.

I'm hoping to remedy that.

So, as I start all photo recipes, here are the stars of our chicken salad experience:

Celery, red bell pepper, green onions, rosemary, parsley, lemon zest, mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Oh, and let's not forget...

Two cups of shredded chicken. That's about one of my two brined and poached chicken breasts.

First, let's dice our crunchy veggies. First I slice a celery stalk lengthwise into 1/4 inch wide strips...
and then chop it into about a 1/4 inch pieces.

Using the same method, I now chop the red bell pepper into a 1/4 inch dice.

With the two green onions, I slice them (kind of) thinly and then chop them into smaller pieces.

Next, the rosemary. I like the taste of rosemary; if you want to use something else, go right ahead. It's your chicken salad. I've used tarragon and dill before as an alternative.

I stripped the rosemary leaves off their stalk (VERY necessary) and then chopped them semi-fine. I ended up with a tablespoon of chopped rosemary.

Next comes the parsley. I just pull off some of the parsley leaves and stems...

Roll them into a tight bundle...

And then chop through the bundle. Then I go back over the parsley until it's chopped to my liking.

Now for the lemon zest. If you want to use the dried lemon peel from a jar in your spice cabinet, go ahead. But there's something about fresh lemon zest that just wakes up the chicken salad.

There are a few methods to zest a lemon. I use a Microplane to get my zest; make sure to get ONLY the yellow skin. The white pith underneath is NOT chicken salad friendly.

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl...

And stir until well mixed.

Now we have a chicken salad ready for dressing.

Now, making a mayonnaise salad dressing is SO EASY that I can't imagine buying it ready made off a grocery store shelf. Try it and see if you don't agree.

First, we need some mayonnaise...

I can't really tell you how much I used. If I had posted this six weeks ago, I would have remembered. But it's safe to say, if you make too much dressing, you can always use it as sandwich spread.

Add maybe a teaspoon of vinegar... (again, I'm trying to remember)

And 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of the above seasonings. Again, add a little and then add more later if needed.

Stir to combine...

And then taste to adjust the seasoning. It should taste a little too strong by itself. Once combined with the chicken salad ingredients, it will all balance out. hands were clean and germ-free in this shot; I make a point of following ALL state food safety regulations, even in my own home. Well, at least for you all.

Add some of the dressing to the waiting chicken salad...

And stir until well mixed.

Add more of the dressing if needed. You can always add more dressing, but you can't take it out.

Eat on your favorite sandwich bread, scoop over a delicious green salad, or eat straight out of the bowl. Not that I do that or anything. Just a random thought--really.

Now I just wish I had a warm summer day to eat this cool, refreshing chicken salad...maybe I'll close my eyes and wish REALLY hard. bjh


melodie said...

Love this recipe. Got ingredients to make this today. Thanks for the post. I love your site.

Nicole said...

Thanks for the comment, Melodie. I hope you enjoy the chicken salad--I might make some this weekend myself...

Crazi Beautiful Women said...

Your salad looks so delicious! I will have to make it soon!

crazi founder of Crazi Beautiful Women