Chicken salad is one of those foods that can be incredibly delicious or just plain icky. Over the past few years I’ve had my share of both. I’ve drooled over many delectable looking sandwiches on the menu, only to receive what looked like moldy mayo between two slabs of day old bread. On the other hand, I’ve also tried a few chicken salads I really enjoyed, ones with big hunks of chicken, grapes, nuts, or celery.
I thought I had pretty much played the field when it came to chicken salad but on a recent brunch visit to Mimi’s Cafe, I was intrigued by a new combination they had on the menu– Cranberry and Pistachio Chicken Salad. I mainly ordered it because it was served on a croissant. I mean, geesh, I can even handle moldy mayo if it’s served on a fluffy, buttery calorie laden croissant. But that’s beside the point.
The point is this chicken salad was AWESOME. Within days after consuming that masterpiece of a sandwich, I was craving it again. I knew I had to try to recreate it at home. With a little tweaking I managed to get the recipe pretty darn close. The Mr., who usually scoffs at anything that mixes “pointless” fruit with meat, said it was the best chicken salad he’d ever had. Happy.
Besides convincing my husband that fruit is actually tasty and does serve a purpose in this world, I also thoroughly enjoy easy recipes. This chicken salad is definitely one of those, but there are a couple steps I would not recommend skipping. First, always, always start with good quality seasoned meat. Chicken in a can absolutely will not do. That’s what gives you the moldy mayo look. I recommend chopping up a few slabs of the Embarrassingly Easy Italian Grilled Chicken, and no, I’m not biased at all. (Also, it took me three times to spell embarrassingly right. Thank God for spell check).
Secondly, splurge on good bread. I don’t care what anyone says, you can judge a chicken salad by its day-old Wonder Bread cover. You can ruin a perfectly good chicken salad with the wrong wrapping. So go out and get some thick slices of fresh honey wheat bread or spend half your life making homemade croissants, or do what I did and buy some eggy, slightly sweet Challah rolls. And butter them. And grill them. And enjoy chicken salad the way it was meant to be enjoyed. Then, the next morning, use the extras to make French toast.
Cranberry and Pistachio Chicken Salad
Yield: About 6 sandwiches (5 cups chicken salad)
Recipe by bakeeatrepeat.blogspot.com
3 cups coarsely chopped grilled chicken breasts
3/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup cranberries
1//2 cup pistachios
Salt and Pepper
Challah Rolls (optional…but only if you’re on a gluten free diet)
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together mayo and sour cream. Add sugar and lemon juice and whisk until thoroughly combined.
2. Add chunks of chicken to mayo mixture and stir until combined. If needed add a bit more mayo or sour cream to cover.
3. Stir in cranberries and pistachios.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Cut Challah rolls in half. Butter on cut side. Place face down in skillet over medium high heat. Grill until golden brown. Layer with chicken salad, lettuce, and tomato.