Chicken Salad

By • April 19, 2010 • 20 Comments

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Author Notes: A few years ago, Toby Cecchini published a tuna salad recipe in the New York Times that was unlike any I'd seen before. Divorced of mayonnaise, the tuna was left in large slivers, dressed with lemon and oil, and mixed with pepperoncini, dill, parsley and smoked almonds. There wasn't a scrap of celery in sight. The tuna held its own between lashings of pepper and flourishes of dill, and seemed like so much more than just tuna salad.

I wondered: why not apply the same method to chicken? I like a good mayonnaise-based chicken salad, but one with more candid flavors would be a great recipe to have around for when chicken salad and a glass of white wine feels like the perfect weekend lunch.
Amanda Hesser

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • Salt
  • 4 cups cubed roasted chicken (I like to include some of the crisp skin)
  • 3 tablespoons slivered peppadew peppers
  • 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts (drained thoroughly)
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped smoked almonds
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Sprinkle the onion with salt and toss to coat. Let sit for 15 minutes. Squeeze the onions to drain any juices.
  2. In a bowl, toss together the onion, chicken, peppadews, artichoke hearts and almonds. In a small bowl, whisk together the thyme, mustard and vinegar. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the chicken and fold together. Squeeze in lemon juice to taste -- it will take a fair amount, probably 1/2 to 1 lemon. Let sit for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve.
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over 1 year ago LeeLeeBee

This dish is fantastic. One rotisserie chicken provided exactly four cups of shredded meat. I couldn't find smoked almonds or sherry vinegar, so I substituted white wine vinegar and added about 1/4 tsp of smoked paprika instead. Fabulous summer (in Australia) lunch over arugula!

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over 2 years ago Patsy

My comment has nothing to do with the wonders of these recipes but the ease of use of the Food52 site. Thanks for the community of cooks and the amazing site - I lied - the recipes are great too!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks so much, Patsy!

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about 3 years ago skeefer

Making this for second time tonight - it rocks. Great combination and an easy dinner!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I like comments like yours!

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about 3 years ago creamtea

I made this for a screaming 2 night slumber party of teenage girls. No smoked almonds available on short notice so I bought roasted, sauteed them, blotted them and added TJ's South African Smoke to the almonds and to the chicken mixture. Next time I would skip sauteeing them and just add the Smoke to the entire mixture. No pappadews in the immediate vicinity and no time to go to Zabar's, so I found a bottled pappadew sauce and threw in several T.'s of that. Finally, some dried apricots were out on the counter after prolonged snacking, so I sliced a handful and added that too--the fruitiness seemed to go with the smoke and heat. There is still some in the fridge for a midnight snack. Will the teenagers notice??

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Bravo on the improvisation!

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about 3 years ago Susan Robideaux-Griggs

WOW! I had to improvise, since I'm in a small town with not all of the ingredients available (peppadews). But, this was so good! So easy, and really a party hit. I made three different Chicken Salads, and this by far was the best.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

So glad! Thanks for your comment.

Burnt_offering

over 3 years ago Burnt Offerings

Ate far more than my share of this today at Mrs. Wheelbarrow's get together. I'm catering my niece's graduation party in 2 weeks, and this just got added to the menu! AND - it was so nice to see you (and your adorable mini-me daughter) again!

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over 3 years ago aichkaybee

Oh Lordy, this was so good. My Whole Foods happens to have a marinated artichoke heart and peppadew combo in the antipasto bar, so the ingredients were super easy for me to come by as well. Can't wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow for lunch. Many thanks for the awesome recipe!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

You're welcome! So glad you enjoyed it!

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over 3 years ago iowabaker

I will never think of chicken salad the same again! Absolutely divine! I didn't have sherry vinegar so I used red wine vinegar and added lots of chopped parsley, lemon juice, and zest. The other commenters are right. This is amazing!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Hey -- thanks for taking time to let me know your thoughts!

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over 3 years ago IthacaNancy

So good and easy! I used maple vinegar instead of sherry vinegar and roasted red peppers since we didn't have peppadews . . . leeks instead of onions . . . tamari roasted almonds instead of smoked almonds . . . but I don't think any of the changes detracted from the recipe. We liked it, and it was a good way to get my husband to include some vegetables in his diet and break out of eating his cold chicken as slabs with mayonnaise on bread.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Kudos to you for your efforts to broaden his palate!

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over 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

If you could not use pappadews because of a guest's allergy to them, what would you use instead? Or would you perhaps just not worry about a substitution? I'm thinking, perhaps, a few picholine olives, coarsely chopped . . . . Thank you. ;o)

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

If it's not an allergy to all peppers than I might just use a roasted pepper. But if it is an allergy to all peppers, then yes picholines sound great!

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over 3 years ago healthierkitchen

I'm surprised I didn't comment on this ages ago, as I've been making this since first posted. I just linked to it on food pickle and noticed that I never did say how much I love this chicken salad. I've never loved mayo so this is perfect for me, but the combination of the vinaigrette, peppadews and almonds is amazing!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

glad you like it!