When it’s hot outside, reaching into the fridge for a chilled salad is about as good as it gets for summertime eating. And this salad is make-ahead friendly with lots of interesting flavors and textures: tender chicken, crisp celery and apples, crunchy almonds, sweet/tart cranberries and a creamy, no-mayo dressing bright with curry, lime, honey and a kick of Tabasco. This will wake up your appetite!
The salad comes together in minutes. You can use leftover rotisserie chicken or a no-fail method of oven poaching the bird in its own juices. Chicken poached in water loses its flavor, so I like to put the chicken — light or dark meat — in a covered oven-proof dish and cook it for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees F. It’s a technique I picked up from Martha Stewart and as she says, “It’s a good thing.” Martha has her outspoken critics, but as a new bride, I found her approach to cooking warm and inspiring. I never took it to the level that she does, but I often found useful ideas I could incorporate into everyday meals to make them better and more delicious.
If you need a salad for a potluck supper or a picnic, this recipe will take the worry of warm mayonnaise out of the project with coconut cream as a substitute for mayo. Some curried chicken salads can be harsh, but the key to using curry powder is to cook it prior to adding it to the dressing. A minute in over medium heat mixed with some coconut or olive oil is all it takes to remove the harshness.
To accompany the salad, I have a cucumber, lime and honey cocktail made with gin:
Or a non-alcoholic cucumber, lime and honey spritzer with sparkling water over ice:
I hope you enjoy these recipes and the cool, fresh tunes in this week’s playlist!