I love a good sandwich. A really good sandwich filled with delicious things on great bread. My all time favorite is an Italian type sub from a deli. You know the one – crusty bread, lots of Italian cold cuts like coppa and genoa salami, provolone, a healthy shot of hot peppers and a zing of oil/vinegar. Oh heaven almighty in a paper wrapper! But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about gross mayonnaise-y salads and my general dislike for them. Yum, huh?
I really dislike a lot of mayonnaise. Ick ick ick. A little bit is all right – the sauce in a spicy tuna roll, a thin schmear on one side of a BLT, a garlicky aioli. But mayonnaise-y macaroni salad or a fat double sandwich swipe? Noooooo. Those seven layer salad concoctions with the thick ribbon of mayo under the peas? Oh good god. The thought of dipping my fries in a blob of white goop just turns my stomach (and now yours too – sorry about that.) It just sort of grosses me out.
Every once in a while, I make an exception. I used to frequent this place that makes fantastic sandwiches on small, squishy, slightly sweet rolls. Their chicken salad, in particular, is great. Surprising as hell given my dislike of mayo but it has two redeeming factors: an easy hand with the white goop and it’s full good STUFF. I like lots of STUFF in my chicken salad – tasty crunchy wonderful bits like celery, onion and green apple. It’s Waldorf Salad’s cooler cousin.
Today I really wanted that chicken salad but didn’t feel like putting on my shoes to get some. It was that kind of day at the end of that kind of a weekend. I did a quick – if not through – mental inventory and realized I could make it myself. There was a defrosted chicken breast in the fridge. I had a red onion, celery and a crisp apple (or 20) from Farmer Pete. Even had a lemon and plain yogurt which I use to cut the mayonnaise. Works and tastes great. To top it off, there were some freshly baked pretzel rolls in the house. A great sandwich was definitely in the works.
The chicken breast was poached; fruit and veg were precisely diced (who says pastry chefs don’t have knife skills?) Everything was ready to go and I realized I HAD NO FLIPPIN’ MAYO. Seriously? Just because it takes forever go through one of those tiny 3oz jars, it didn’t even occur to me to check the fridge door. Of course it’s there, right? No such luck. I have to put on shoes? Good god. This was the worst. A special trip for mayonnaise, of all things. Horrifying.
So now I have a choice … go the store or bag the whole thing but at this point, I really want that damn chicken salad sandwich. Wouldn’t you? So I sucked it up, took a brisk walk and had a delish sandwich in no time. Then I put my mini mayo jar back in the fridge door where it will sit for eternity, took off my shoes and had a nice late lunch. So nice in fact that I had two. Good thing I took a walk.
STRESS BAKING THERAPY FACTOR: ON THE LOW END. It’s a pretty simple thing to throw together. Relatively stress free actually. Just make sure you have all the ingredients on hand before starting. Argh.
A quick note on the above photo. Yes, those are out of season strawberries. I know, I know. They’re probably from South America and have a horrendous carbon footprint but they were given to me so what was I going to do? Throw them out? Hello, have we met? To complete this scenario, I had a … wait for it … blue soda alongside. Yes, a BLUE soda. Full of high fructose corn syrup. I believe it was “blueberry flavor”, there was nothing natural about it whatsoever and it was unapologetically delicious. Isn’t it fantastically grotesque?!? I just adore blue food.
GOOD STUFF CHICKEN SALAD
Makes enough to fill 2-3 sandwiches
This is kind of a throw-it-together-an- see-what tastes-good recipe. I’ve never actually written it down before so use this as a guide for what works best for you. Toasted pecans would be a nice addition too or a fresh herb such as tarragon, dill or chives, if that’s your fancy. Lots of good stuff!
1 large chicken breast, boneless skinless (about 6oz) – use 2 if yours are small
1 stalk celery, diced (about 1/3 cup)
¼ small red onion, diced (about ¼ cup)
½ small green apple, diced (about ¼ cup)
2 Tablespoons plain yogurt
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
healthy pinch of salt
healthy pinch of black pepper
squirt of fresh lemon juice
fixings: a good roll, lettuce, tomato
- Trim the chicken breast of skin and any excess fat, place in a saucepan and cover with cold water.
- Bring to a simmer over low heat and slowly cook for 10-15 minutes until cooked through.
- Remove chicken from the water and allow to cool – about 10 minutes just so it’s easy to handle.
- Shred into bite size pieces disposing any grisly, nasty bits. Cool completely. You should have about 1½ cups or so.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Add the cooled chicken, celery, red onion and apple and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.
- Use as a sandwich filling or put a scoop on some mixed greens for a tasty salad. Enjoy.