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Lunch Break

January 25, 2012

After a short break of education, we’re back on the track with a classic lunch favorite.  Whether in a bowl, in a sandwich or in hollow pastry puffs, chicken salad is just great.  This is a simple and tasty recipe that starts with homemade mayonnaise.  It’s simple to do, and tastes way better than the store-bought varieties.  And it has a lot less artificial ingredients, too!

I use roasted chicken breast for my chicken salad.  You can either use the leftovers of a whole roasted chicken (homemade or a rotisserie chicken from the store); or you can just roast a boneless, skinless chicken breast.  Spice it with garlic salt, white pepper and a bit of nutmeg, and roast it until the outside is nicely browned, and the internal temperature is no lower than 165 degrees.  As the chicken is roasting, boil two eggs and 2-3 small white potatoes.  Yellow or russet potatoes will work, too, but white potatoes tend to have a nicer consistency in the salad.

While the cooked ingredients cool, let’s start the mayonnaise.  In a mixing bowl, place the yolk of one egg, along with a quarter teaspoon or so of mustard and a few drops of lemon juice.  These two ingredients ensure an acidic environment, where the yolk will easily take up the oil.

Eggs, mustard, lemon juice

The egg and the mustard

Start beating it by hand or with a mixer – it’s really best tasting when beaten by hand with a wooden or nylon spoon, but if you’re more for the practical part of it than subtle taste changes, by all means, use a hand mixer.  Once the yolk is mixed with the mustard and lemon juice, start adding oil, little by little, always pouring it in a thin stream.

Thin stream

See the thin stream on the left?

Wait for all the oil to get incorporated before you add more – altogether, one egg yolk takes up about 3/4 a cup of oil.  My college culinary instructor always said that good salad mayo is “droppy, not droopy”.  This meant that instead of dripping down from your spoon or beater, it drops down in a single glob.  Now is the time to flavor it to your taste with salt, pepper, sugar, mustard and heavy cream or sour cream.

Mayo

Fresh, homemade mayo keeps in the fridge in a mason jar for a week

Let the mayonnaise stand for a few minutes, until we cut up all the ingredients.  Aside from the chicken, eggs and potatoes, you’ll need about a quarter head of iceberg lettuce and a nice, ripe apple – Fuji or Red Delicious are my favorites.  Peel and core the apples, peel the potatoes and the eggs, and cut everything into matchsticks or very thin strips.  Use only the whites of the eggs – the yolks would crumble and dissolve in the mayonnaise, giving it an odd-looking tint.

Chicken

Cut everything to about this size

Stir everything in with the mayonnaise, and refrigerate for at least an hour for the flavors to really come together.  It also makes a great make-ahead work lunch; whether as a sandwich, or just the salad itself in a take-along box.

Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad

Enjoy your meal!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Alijah Sherrard permalink
    February 8, 2012 06:06

    Really enjoyed this blog post.Really thank you! Will read on…

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