Monday, March 7, 2011

PPQ: Apple-Almond Chicken Salad

I am a big fan of chicken salad.  Served on a croissant, it is one of my favorite lunches ever.  And to be honest, I don't understand why anyone would eat it any other way.  I also don't bother eating it if it doesn't have fruit and toasted nuts in it.  I just love the crunch and the sweetness.  I realize there are some crazy people out there who don't like fruit in their chicken salad, but that is just crazy talk to me!

Though I make chicken salad quite often, I have never thought to blog it.  I don't use a recipe really, just more of a method:
  1. Cut the mayo by at least half with Greek yogurt
  2. Add lots of extra dijon
  3. Use some sort of fresh herb (parsley, chives, basil, thyme...)
  4. Something for sharpness (onion, scallion, shallot...)
  5. Have at least 1 fruit.  I prefer apples and grapes, but have used both peaches and pineapple in a moment of desperation.
  6. Dried raisins or cranberries
  7. toasted nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, pine nuts....)
  8. And my "secret" ingredient is a big squirt of honey.  It gives the whole salad a little sweetness vs just getting it when you bite into the fruit.
So when Shawnda chose apple-almond chicken salad with homemade mayonnaise for her Project Pastry Queen choice,  I immediately flipped to the recipe to see if it fit my criteria.  And it did meet most of my guidelines!  I could easily (and dramatically) increase Dijon, and add honey and dried cranberries.  However, I ended up changing her recipe up so much that I really shouldn't say I even participated this week. 

I didn't make my own mayo.  Since I always use at least half Greek yogurt, I didn't really feel like going through the trouble.  I would like to make my own at some point though, in hopes that it will make me actually like mayonnaise instead of abhorring it.  I also didn't have celery or red onion on hand, so I just omitted the celery, and I used shallot instead of the onion.  And finally, I didn't have any parsley, so I added a combination of chives, fresh oregano, and basil.

Even though I pretty much butchered the recipe, I still loved this chicken salad.  I loved the sweetness from the apples, the crunch from the toasted almonds, and the hit of fresh herbs.  Once I made all of my adjustments, it really was my perfect chicken salad.

Head over to Confections of a Foodie Bride for the full (and correct) recipe, and check back next week for my choice!


notyet100 said...

looks so delicious

Amanda Guz said...

This is basically how I make my Chicken salad, except I never thought of adding the honey! Will have to try it next time!

Courtney said...

I'm the same way! I love grapes, dried cranberries, apples, etc. in my chicken salad. And it definitely has to have toasted almonds, walnuts or pecans in it. This looks so delicious - chicken salad on a croissant has to be one of my favorite lunches ever.

Bridget said...

In the past, I've been anti fruit-in-chicken salad, but the sweetness in those fig-glazed burgers last night was so good that I might be ready to try some other sweet and savory combinations!

I don't really get the hype around homemade mayonnaise. I've made it a few times, and it always seems really similar to the storebought stuff to me. I love both versions, so I don't bother making my own anymore.

Kelsey said...

I'm so with you on including fruit and crunch in chicken salad. I love apples, so this will be on my list for sure!

Shawnda said...

I love the idea of using honey and Greek yogurt. I'm all about a sweet chicken salad.

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