~ Chick Flicks and Curried Chicken Salad Croissants ~
It's no secret I'm a movie buff. I've watched movies every day since I was ten-ish. My favorites, old or new, are based on true-stories, history or best-selling books. My least favorites are star-warrian and science-fictionous, and, I have no interest in fantasy or animation. I enjoy a good whodunnit crime drama or an occasional action-packed adventure but won't watch horror-infused slashing-for-shock-value movies. Comedies and satires are great, but, romantic, tear-jerking or feel-good chick flicks are better. You know the ones -- those you can't pay the guy in your life to sit and watch with you (but it would be worth the price of admission just to watch him watch).
A well-made chicken salad is divine & we all have preferences.
Just like I have preferences in movies, I have preferences in chicken salads. I prefer white-breast- over dark-thigh- meat, roasted chicken over poached, greasy rotisserie chicken makes me cringe, and, I want my chicken hand-pulled instead of diced or cubed, because the latter looks plasticy and fake. Error on the side of under-dressing mine, as I want to taste the chicken, but yes, by all means, please add some lightly-toasted seeds or nuts for crunch. I enjoy it served as a forkable salad or as a sandwich, but, if served as a salad I want it on tender soft lettuce leaves, and if served as a sandwich, I want it on soft-textured bread -- bibb lettuce and croissants are ideal.
When it comes to chicken salad, it's all about the chicken.
Julia Child said, "you can always judge the quality of a cook or a restastaurant by their roast chicken." I concur. If chicken is dry, I won't touch it. It's gotta be moist, fork tender, nicely-seasoned, and, for chicken salad, snowy white. Poaching breasts or tenders in a mild court bouillon accomplishes that (and feel free to do it), but, there is nothing tastier than the juicy white meat pulled away from the breast bone of a perfectly-roasted whole chicken: ~ This Woman's Way to Roast the Perfect Chicken ~.
The following recipe is written to make two servings.
Because I prefer to eat chicken salad after being chilled 2-4 hours or the same day it's prepared, although the next day is ok too, I don't much enjoy it past that point, so I only make as much as I need, which is enough for 2 days. As written, my recipe makes two very generous servings -- three smaller servings. Want to make more? Do the math with the help of this:
1/2 of a whole chicken breast split in half = about 8-9 ounces
8-9 ounces chicken breast = about 2 cups pulled chicken
2 cups pulled chicken breast = about 2 servings
2 servings my curried chicken salad = about 2 3/4-3 cups
2 servings = enough to generously fill 4 mini or 2 large croissants
1/2 cup medium-diced celery
6 tablespoons raisins
3 tablespoons small-diced roasted & salted cashews
1/2 cup high-quality mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Major Grey's original chutney
2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
1/2 teaspoon dehydrated onion flakes
2-4 soft bibb lettuce leaves per salad or sandwich, depending on size of lettuce leaves
~Step 1. Place chicken, celery, raisins and cashews in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a small-capacity food processor fitted with steel blade, place mayonnaise, chutney, curry powder and onion flakes. With motor running, process until thoroughly combined, 45-60 seconds. Using a rubber spatula, transfer mayo mixture to chicken mixture and gently fold all the ingredients together. Cover and place in the refrigerator until well-chilled, 2-4 hours or overnight.
Served in a pretty bowl on a bed of lettuce leaves with a fork...
Special Equipment List: Cutting board; chef's knife; small capacity food processor; rubber spatula; 3-4-cup size food storage container w/tight-fitting lid
Cook's Note: ~ A Peachy All-White-Meat 'Melanie' Chicken Salad ~ is another example of how persnickety I am about my chicken salad. This one is modeled after the famous Marshall Field's department store's chicken salad dressed with their Maurice dressing.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2018)