Friend, this is one recipe I insist you try. 95% of the recipes I post are variations of other peoples’, so I do not especially care if you like them, or even try them. But this one is all mine. Mine mine mine. So I insist that you try it. Please do not tinker too much with the proportions or add foreign ingredients, at least not until you have tried the original first. This chicken salad is not the ultimate chicken salad; it is not elaborate or extravagant, does not have nuts or cranberries, raisins or curry powder (there is nothing wrong with those ingredients, but they are not welcome here). No, it is better than all that: what I think is a sheer classic, and I hope you’ll agree. Some may argue that one person’s version of a classic may vary from another’s, but I think the whole idea of a “classic” anything is that it is timeless and transcends the more particular preferences of our palates, and thus appeals on a universal level. Now, if you don’t like chicken salad in general, that is a different story, of course. But if you are a fan, give this one a whirl and let me know what you think.
Classic chicken salad
–makes 3-4 servings–
1 lb chicken breast or tenders, poached* and cut or shredded into bite-sized pieces
1 bosc pear, cut into bite-sized pieces (a crisp, tart apple is more the convention, but bosc pears are just lovely here, trust me)
1 large or 2 medium stalks of celery, diced into small bits
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley (which you can add to the wet ingredients first if you prefer)
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1/2-1 cup of plain yogurt, depending on how much sauce you like
3 T of whole grain mustard (or whatever kind you prefer)
2 T of vinegar or lemon juice
1 t of salt, or to taste
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
*To poach the chicken: place chicken in a single layer in a pot or pan. Fill with water until chicken is completely covered. Season with salt and vinegar (and other spices/herbs if you like). Bring to a boil and then turn the water down to a simmer. Cook for 8-12 mins, depending on the size of your meat, or until it is firm to the touch. Cool before handling or storing.
Mix. Taste and adjust seasonings. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
I had some with a couple toasted slices of a fresh Tuscan loaf. You could also serve in lettuce wraps, or pita bread, or even with some sturdy chips or crackers. Or just get a bowl and spoon, and dig in. It’s light enough for you to do that and not feel nauseous after (though I wouldn’t suggest going at the whole batch of it, not all at once). What a fantastic way to start the day, and finish it, too.