When I think about love, I think of my family, and my brown-eyed dog, and brick sidewalks and autumn and warm pecan pie. Those are all happy things – but let’s talk about a different kind of love.
A love greater than dark chocolate or lab puppies or little velvet boxes.
Lets talk about…
…chicken salad. I love chicken salad in a way that requires a restraining order.
In a perfect world I’d eat only dim sum, Lou Malnati’s pizza, and chicken salad. I tell you this because I trust you. You don’t share deep feelings for chicken salad with just anyone, you know.
But you understand. What? You want to make some with me?
Good. It’s almost lunch.
*This chicken salad is more instinct than recipe, with no set measures. If you desire a big salad stash – and who doesn’t? – use extra chicken and chop more ingredients. If you want less, use less.
It will all come deliciously together, no matter what.
First, we poach some chicken.
Put a bunch of chicken breasts in a large pot, and fill it with half water and half white wine.
Add generous amounts of salt, ground pepper, and a few whole cloves. Cover and boil until the meat is completely cooked through – overcooked is fine – and almost falling apart, but still solid.
It is unfortunate that properly poached chicken will resemble pale, hot gefilte fish.
But it smells amazing.
Turn off the heat, and let the chicken steep while you prep the side players. More steeping, more flavor.
Celery, green onions, and toasted walnuts. Pecans are also good, and I’ve been know to add dried cherries or cranberries – but here, basic is best. Chop chop!
As always, this works better with a counter-height black lab.
Throw all those beautiful bits in a big shiny bowl.
Now a little mayo, just enough to bring out the best, plus my extra-secret seasonings, starting clockwise from the upper right yellow blob:
Lawry’s salt * coarse-ground black pepper * curry powder * nutmeg.
A tablespoon or two of white sugar is also nice. Use these to your taste, and do it fast before the page self-destructs. I don’t want it getting around.
And we mix…
…and mix. I am hungry. Never do a food post at noon.
But wait! Something is missing. Something that makes this chicken salad even more dreamy than it already is.
It is heaven in a jar.
It is blue cheese dressing. The creamy chunky kind. Whoops…drooling.
There. Now it’s just right.
Not too wet and not too dry, it is a most beautiful sight, a sight that can make me weep, and one that will make you grab a fork and skip the plate.
Chicken salad is a perfectly bound marriage of crunchy and creamy, savory and sweet.
Are you feeling the love?