Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Glamorous Chicken Salad

When I was a kid (and now too), I loved the Anne of Green Gables books and movies.  So much so that my mom, oldest friend and I took a trip to Prince Edward Island last summer to see her haunts, explore the beaches, visit the potato museum and eat as much seafood as possible. 

The Potato Museum, a truly hilarious experience.
It was completely beautiful on the island, I definitely recommend a visit!
Here is the house that inspired Green Gables
They have gorgeous red sand beaches, this one is on the north shore.
 In the movie, Anne's friend Diana dreams of living at a hotel on the beach for the summer:

Diana Barry: I wish I were rich, and I could spend the whole summer at a hotel, eating ice cream and chicken salad.
Anne Shirley: You know something, Diana? We are rich. We have sixteen years to our credit, and we both have wonderful imaginations. We should be as happy as queens.
[gestures to the setting sun]
Anne Shirley: Look at that. You couldn't enjoy its loveliness more if you had ropes of diamonds.
Diana Barry: I don't know about that.

And that's when chicken salad became a glamorous thing for me.  As a kid, I ate a lot of tuna salad and a lot of egg salad, but not really much chicken salad, so maybe that's another part of it too. 

One of my favorite quick meals is to buy a rotisserie chicken on the way home from work.  I typically roast some veggies, or throw the dark meat on top of a green salad and voila!  Dinner is served. But, living alone, a rotisserie chicken is good for several meals.  After pulling all the meat from the chicken carcass to make chicken stock, I decided to make a fancy chicken salad, something I thought Diana would appreciate on the beach of a Prince Edward Island hotel. 

 Here's what you'll need:

2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces.
1 stalk of celery
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or grapes or raisins or dried apricots, whatever your heart desires)
1/2 apple, diced
1/2 cup chopped parsley (could also add fresh tarragon or dill)
1/2 cup sliced almonds (or something crunchy, like sunflower seeds, walnuts, pepitas, etc.)
1/2 lemon
1/2-3/4 cup Greek yogurt
Salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.

Chop everything up and put it in a big bowl, then squeeze the juice from half a lemon over the whole thing, add your yogurt and spices then mix.  Feel free to adjust the quantity of yogurt if you want a "wetter" chicken salad, you could even add a tablespoon or two of mayonnaise if you so choose. 

When it was mixed, I had mine on a bed of spring greens with tomato and cucumber, but you could make a wrap, fill a pita, stuff a tomato, serve with crackers, or even smack some between two pieces of bread for a sandwich.  But no matter what, you should think about how fancy your meal would have been 100 years ago, for Diana's sake.