One of Manu's favorite foods to eat when he comes to America to visit (besides light beer, chips + salsa and hot dogs...I know, what a palate) is chicken salad. You really should hear him say it in his little accent.
It's one of those foods that I can easily recreate here and now is the time when I love it most. I'm picturing an ideal summer picnic: this chicken salad with grapes and walnuts, crusty whole grain bread, a juicy, dill pickle and Cape Cod chips. Excuse me while I salivate.
I wanted to lighten up the traditional mayo-ridden salad by using a combination of plain yogurt and mayo, and I must admit, it was even more delicious! I'm never going back now. Oh, and this was the only photo I got because we were eating it so fast and before I knew it there was only this poor, sad half sandwich left. That of course I continued to eat while photographing it - hence said sadness of photo. I hate when the chee-kan sah-lahhd ends.
(Based on Jamie Oliver’s recipe here)
2 lb. free-range chicken
a few black peppercorns
2 celery stalks
a handful of almonds
2 tablespoons whole milk natural yogurt
3 tablespoons good-quality mayonnaise
1/4 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 celery stalk, peeled and diced
a small bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked and torn
To poach the chicken, place in a large saucepan, cover with water, add the peppercorns and celery and bring to a gentle simmer. Poach for about 40 minutes. If you can, leave it to cool in the liquid. Take the chicken out of the pan, remove the skin and shred the meat. Dry-fry the almonds in a hot pan and set aside to cool.
To make the dressing, mix the yogurt, mayonnaise, salt and black pepper to taste. Add the chicken, almonds, chopped celery and the torn basil. Mix well and serve.
Buon appetito! And thank you, thank you, thank you for your sweet words yesterday! They were oh so helpful (as usual)!