How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

"Not Your Diner's" Chicken Salad

In diners and delis, of course, chicken salad is a cold salad consisting mostly of chicken chunks held together with mayo with perhaps a bit of celery. It is served in a sandwich or on top of a couple slices of lettuce. Pam sometimes orders this in diners, but I rarely do, being innately resistant to any mayonnaise salad that was not made by me or a close family member. It's just a thing I have.

At Casa Hayes-Boh, "chicken salad" means something very different. It would be more aptly called "salad chicken" since it is mostly salad, with just a bit of chicken. We prepare this fairly often, so it is not exactly "una nueva receta" for us, but it might be new to some readers.

I suppose it is inspired by the commonly-offered "chicken Cesar salad" that we see in many restaurants, but somehow this is a bit more special. It varies a bit each time, with yesterday's salad coming together particularly well. Here is what we did:

The salad base was lettuce, a cuke, and a few assorted greens from our Colchester CSA. We added a huge tomato we had just purchased at the Bridgewater Farmers Market, parsley from the grocery and some basil from the pots on our porch.

To this we added one chicken breast -- I marinated it in margarita mix (any citrus juice would do), Worcestershire sauce, and Seagram's 7 (any inexpensive whiskey would do). With a tiny bit of canola oil, I seared the chicken over high heat, and then cut it in the pan -- of course it was an indispensable cast-iron skillet!

We put this on top of the salad and tossed with a generous dose of Pam's famous dressing:
3 parts canola oil and one part each of balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and local honey. This is tastier, healthier, and less expensive  than most commercial dressings.

We paired this with a 2009 Riesling from Westport Rivers. If you are trying this at home, however, we must advise that German Rieslings are unlikely to work; South Coast Reislings -- especially those from Westport Rivers -- are semi-semi-dry, not cloyingly sweet.

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