Curried Chicken Salad over Red Leaf Lettuce (Serves 4-7)
Keeping a hot meal hot long enough to eat can be a problem for people who are extremely busy. A nurse who works the nightshift and often has to eat on the run inspired me to explore chicken salad because it is good cold. My first experience making chicken salad was so good that now I am planning to develop a whole range of cold entrees – crab salad, tuna salad, egg salad, salmon salad. But first: Curried Chicken Salad over Red Leaf Lettuce.
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
4-6 cups of chicken
3-5 ribs of celery
1 bunch of green onions
1 handful of walnut pieces
1 handful of dried cranberries (infused with apple juice)
1 Granny Smith apple
Curry powder (I like yellow Hot Jamaican curry)
1 or 2 heads of red leaf lettuce
Chop chicken, celery, green onions, walnuts, cranberries, and apple into bite sized pieces. I used a food processor to make small bites, but you can use a knife and create bigger bites if you like. Combine everything you have chopped and add 5 to 7 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1 level tablespoon of curry powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything well and taste. Add more salt, pepper, curry powder, or mayonnaise as needed. Rinse red leaf lettuce, tear into modest sized pieces, and arrange on a plate. Scoop a generous helping of chicken salad onto the lettuce and enjoy!
Homemade mayonnaise is surprisingly easy to make and bumps up the flavor of this dish. I learned to make mayonnaise from Melissa Joulwan, a wonderfully creative cook and entertaining writer on food, exercise, music, and life. She promised me it would be easy and she was right! Don’t accept the soybean oil, sugar, and preservatives of store-bought mayonnaise anymore. Make some homemade yourself. I’ll walk you through it just like Melissa taught me… (Or you can click here and let Melissa walk you through it)
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/4 cups olive oil (light, not extra virgin)
Lay out the egg, mustard powder, salt, lemon, and olive oil two to four HOURS in advance because all ingredients must be at room temperature. You can warm a lemon by floating it in warm water, but the same trick can cook an egg, so don’t do it. When ready place the egg, mustard powder, salt, lemon juice and 1/4 cup of olive oil in your blender or food processor and whirl until well mixed – 20 to 30 seconds. You can make it happen by hand in a bowl with a whisk like Julia Childs did in the old days, but that is a lot of work. Now here comes the important part: Drizzle in the last cup of olive oil very, very slowly while you keep running the blender – as in, take about 3 minutes to drizzle in one cup of oil. Don’t get in a hurry and dump a lot of oil in at once or the mixture can collapse and stop looking like mayonnaise. IF your mayo collapses, all is not lost. Put the mixture in the refrigerator for a few hours and then stir it vigorously. Such “failed” mayo doesn’t look as pretty, but it still tastes good and works fine in chicken salad. Once you are done, transfer your mayo to an air-tight container and store it in the refrigerator until needed. Homemade mayo should be good until the expiration date of the egg it was made with.
Printer friendly version: Curried Chicken Salad over Red Leaf Lettuce