Chicken salad makes me think of two things.
One, a scene from my favorite movie “Anne of Green Gables”. It’s when Anne and her best friend Diana dream of living among the rich at a summer hotel, “eating ice cream and chicken salad”. As a little girl I always thought of that possibility: vacationing on the beach and eating only those two items all summer long. It sounded like a kind of heaven I could get use to.
The second thing chicken salad makes me think about is the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college. I picked up a seasonal job at The Pickle Tree Farm, a small farmstead, restaurant, and gift shop. They made the most unbelievable chicken salad. It had all kinds of textures and subtle flavors. I ordered it every lunch break… or at least, every lunch break I could afford to pay for it. For me, college summer jobs seemed to be synonymous with working for peanuts.
I’ve never quite nailed their chicken salad, but I sure don’t mind the continued attempts. Here’s the closest I’ve come to perfecting it. The key is to load it up with lots of fresh, crunchy vegetables and a handful of sweet, crisp red grapes. Don’t forget the walnuts! As always, experiment with your own favorite additions. Practice makes perfect!
1 whole roasted chicken (I like to pick up an All Natural Roasted Chicken from the grocer. Makes this so easy!)
1 small red onion, finely chopped
4 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 small cucumber, cubed
6 radishes, chopped
2 c red seedless grapes, halved
1 c walnuts, roughly chopped
1 c basil + parsley, minced
1 c mayonnaise (more, depending on desired texture)
2 Tbl fresh lemon juice
Shred the meat from the entire chicken. In a big bowl, add all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Serve on toasted french bread with hearty boston lettuce. Store leftover chicken salad in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.