We all have them. Recipes we go back to over and over because they’re – easy, tasty, nostalgic, convenient, whatever. They’re rarely in the realm of gourmet or even elegant but rather they are what they are – reliable, simple and we just like them.
One of ours is Chicken Salad. Nothing fancy. This recipe comes from American Cooking volume 27 of the old Time-Life: Foods of the World series originally published between 1968 and 1971. When Jeanne and I were first married we subscribed to this series and each month (or was it bi-monthly?) we received a set consisting of a hard bound volume with lots of pictures, informative (or maybe just fanciful) text and some recipes for a specific country or cuisine and a spiral bound smaller volume that was all recipes (including many not published in the hard cover volume). America was broken down into an overview, American Cooking, and a series of 7 regions; New England, Eastern Heartland, Southern Style, The Great West, The Northwest, Creole & Acadian and The Melting Pot, all which came in later months.
With the subscription we could exam each volume and return those we weren’t interested in. I think we only sent back one, Wines and Spirits, which was too heavy on mixed drinks, punches and such that didn’t fit our style back then. Of the volumes we kept, some have gotten heavy use (Italy has been replaced twice). American Cooking has several recipes we go to again and again, Chicken Salad, being one of those. It’s a great recipe for using left over chicken from a roast and it doesn’t take much time. Add some first-of-season ripe tomatoes and you have an elegantly simple lunch for a hot summer day.
4 C. cooked chicken, cooled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. scallion or onion, finely diced
1/2 C. celery, chopped (include some of the leaves)3 Tbs. capers, washed, drained and coarsely chopped. Use fewer capers of desired or substitute chopped cornichons or other sour pickle.
1 C. mayonnaise (the real stuff, NOT Miracle Whip!!!)
1 C. sour cream
1 Tbs. parsley, chopped
1 large ripe tomato
Dill pollen or finely chopped dill weed
Mix everything but tomato and dill, taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Serve on large slices ripe tomatoes (or scoop out smaller tomatoes and stuff with the salad). Serves 2.