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
4 to 6
thinly sliced red onion
cubed roasted chicken (I like to include some of the crisp skin)
slivered peppadew peppers
marinated artichoke hearts (drained thoroughly)
roughly chopped smoked almonds
whole-grain mustard, plus more to taste
Sprinkle the onion with salt and toss to coat. Let sit for 15 minutes. Squeeze the onions to drain any juices.
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.
Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.