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, August 16, 2015

Collaborative Chicken Salad

a.k.a. Tarragone Salad

Determined to do better with finding new dishes to prepare weekly, we took out some cookbooks and found a few new-to-us recipes. We like to start our summer weekends with Sunset Music at Westport Rivers Vineyard. Sometimes we eat some of the local fare from the vendors, but usually we bring our own picnic.

This week we tried Tarragon Chicken Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts from the Dishing Up Maryland cookbook. We took turns doing the various tasks in order to get this ready. James started the night before by boiling some chicken breasts and refrigerating them overnight.

While Pam was home for her lunch break she made the Old-fashioned Boiled Salad Dressing that accompanied the recipe for the salad. The dressing was made by starting with 3 eggs and a cup of milk whisked together. To this was added 2 T flour; 2 T sugar; 1 t salt; 1 t dry mustard; 1 t celery seeds and a dash of pepper. This was cooked on low heat while whisking continuously. Finally 1/4 c of vinegar was added.

Next time we'll make a better effort
 to include this beautiful herb.
But really, this recipe is
delicious without it.
When James returned from work he finished putting everything together. He was, in fact, clueless about the complexity of the dressing, having only read the directions in detail while wrapping up this blog post, to which he added the subtitle. The word "tarragone" refers to the omission of targon, both among the herbs to be added and the vinegar that the recipe calls for.

When James got home, he simply diced the now-cold chicken, finely chopped some celery, and combined both with 1/3 cup sour cream, red-wine vinegar, the dressing Pam had made, and some salt and pepper. He then stirred in a cup of chopped hazelnuts he had toasted for a few minutes in our indispensible cast-iron skillet.

Although preparation was spread over a full day, it took us longer to write this than it did to prepare the dish. It is simple and perfect on a roll for a picnic. It paired well with two different wines of medium dryness - Cinco Cães (Five Dogs) from the site of our picnic, and a more pedestrian Chardonnay from Line 39 a couple days later.

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