Pickle & Preserve

Chicken Salad with Pickled Grapes and Celery Leaves

April 14, 2015
4 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

While this salad hints at the classic recipe we’re all accustomed to, it perks it up with a tangy dressing, a vinegar pop in the form of pickled grapes, and a softer crunch from celery leaves. —Ashley Rodriguez

What You'll Need
  • For the pickled grapes:
  • 1 cup whole grapes, washed
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 3 cardamom pods, smashed
  • pinch chile flakes
  • For the salad:
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • 2 tablespoons brine from pickled grapes
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • 2 cups shredded or cooked up chicken
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced celery leaves
  • 1/2 cup quartered pickled grapes
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • Pepper
  1. For the pickled grapes:
  2. Place the grapes in a small jar and set aside. In a small saucepan, combine the apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, cinnamon stick, fennel, cardamom, and chile flakes. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  3. When all of the sugar is dissolved, remove the pan from the heat, then carefully pour the brine over the grapes. Refrigerate until cold.
  4. At this point, you can either use the grapes right away or cover the jar with a lid and keep for up to 2 weeks. The longer they sit, the more pickled they become. Leftover grapes makes a great accompaniment to any cheese and charcuterie board and can be used in other salads.
  1. For the salad:
  2. For the dressing: Combine the crème fraîche, brine, and Dijon in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the olive oil and a good pinch of sea salt to the bowl and whisk well. Taste and add more salt if needed. It will taste quite bright but will be toned down once it is mixed with the chicken.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, celery, grapes, and tarragon. Toss this with the dressing and finish with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Leftover chicken salad is best served within 3 days.
  4. BONUS: Turn your leftover pickle brine into a trendy shrub of sorts. Mix the brine with enough honey to suit your sweet needs, then add water. (I prefer about 1 part sweetened brine to 4 parts water but it’s quite puckering.) The brine, spiced with fennel, cinnamon, and cardamom, makes for a refreshing and very nutritious drink that's far less expensive than the bottled varieties.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

Author of Date Night In (2015) and creator of the blog, Not Without Salt.

1 Review

Sue April 17, 2015
Ashley - your recipes sounds amazing. I'm going to make it this weekend, and can't wait to have some leftover pickled grapes as well.

I do have one question if you don't mind. Am I understanding correctly that the brine goes over the grapes just as the sugar melts and it comes off the heat? Does the near boiling water harm to grapes, or should I let it cool a bit first?