Here’s another recipe from April – oh the shame! I assigned any combination of these three recipes from Bon Appetit – Chicken-Walnut Salad, Potato Salad, and Tomato Salad with Kalamata Olives. I planned on bringing them to girls’ brunch, where there would be two people who don’t eat gluten and one who doesn’t eat dairy – the same group of friends that I previously fed beets with pistachio butter. I ended up making the chicken salad and the potato salad and skipping the tomatoes, mostly because tomatoes in April are a sad, sad thing.
I cooked my own chicken breasts instead of using pre-cooked specimens, and just chopped it up roughly after it had cooked. I left the parmesan on the side to accommodate the group, and threw everything else together. The result was an excellent basic chicken salad, the kind that you have to keep picking at to get just one more chunk of chicken or another toasted walnut. It’s also the kind of recipe that gives you a groundwork for experimentation. My mom’s chicken salad, for example, uses cashews and halved grapes, which would be easy enough to throw into the existing recipe in place of the walnuts. Or you could throw in a little diced apple, or try other nuts, or add artichoke hearts, or whatever sounds good. I’ve already made this twice, and I’m sure I’ll turn to it again.
The potato salad, on the other hand, left something to be desired. It had a super-strong flavor of onion and wine, and both over-powered the potatoes and didn’t sit well with each other. Less wine, or a different kind (I can’t remember what I used, but it was something that I enjoyed drinking on its own) might change things, or it might be a hit if you love red onions, but it just left me cold.
Ah, I just refreshed my memory on Bronwen’s experience, and I see that she was smart enough to read the comments on epicurious and skip the wine in favor of some wine vinegar. An excellent idea. Or some kind of reduced wine sauce might work, although that’s more complicated.
The idea is a keeper – three little salads together – and the chicken salad is a keeper – so overall a good, easy meal to add to the repertoire.