The Brazilians add corn to things. We don’t usually add corn to our hot dogs, but they do…Yup, hot dogs. As well as, those yummy little potato sticks. So, this is different, but it is a wonderful version of chicken salad. It’s creamy, has a nice pure flavor, a little crunch at the end. It’s just flat-out delicious. There are several things that make this decidedly Brazilian. I already mentioned the corn and potato sticks, but hearts of palm are in many, many dishes. Here, we can purchase them whole or in chunks. I usually try to have a can of each on hand. If you haven’t tried them, hearts of palm add texture, but not a huge amount of flavor. But, I still like to add them to things, as they add just a bit of exotic. Can we have too much exotic? I think not!
There’s not too much to putting this together. This is a great way to use leftover rotisserie chicken or Thanksgiving turkey, for that matter. However, you can roast chicken breasts yourself. I roast about three halves, drizzle them with olive oil and rub with salt and pepper. Roast, at 350°F, for about 35-45 minutes, depending on the size of the breast pieces.
I make a “pan” out of aluminum foil and I used my toaster oven. Cool the chicken, and pull it apart with your fingers. You can dice the chicken up, but shredding it makes the salad hang together better.
I usually squeeze some lime juice over the apple. It keeps the apple from turning brown, even though there’s acid in the mayo and sour cream. Plus, the lime juice adds a nice touch of flavor, and in Brazil, it would always be lime, rarely lemon. I used dried mango, apricots and orange peels (from Trader Joe’s™—it’s not in the picture).I mix the dressing in the bottom of the bowl (I guess this is a “one bowl” dish!), then add everything else, except the potato sticks. If I’m adding fresh fruit, I toss everything together, except the dressing, and chill the mixture for a couple of hours. For fresh fruit, I add diced fresh pineapple, mango, peaches or nectarines to this. If I dress the salad, with the fresh fruit, then chill, it has a tendency to get too “weepy”. A good cry is always cathartic, but not for a salad!
But, you always add the potato sticks just before you’re going to serve. They’ll get soggy if you add them too soon. This is pretty delicious, rolled into a flour tortilla, with fresh cilantro and potato sticks added for crunch (or toasted peanuts)…options, my friends. Options!
Chicken Salad, Brazilian-Style
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (you may need a bit more)
- 1/3 cup sour cream or plain Greek-style yogurt
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon mild honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Several grinds of black pepper, to taste
- For The Chicken Salad:
- 3 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed or fresh cooked, corn kernels
- 1/2 cup diced, rinsed and well-drained hearts of palm
- Grated orange or lime zest (optional)
- 1/2 cup raisins, dried cranberries, or diced, dried mango or apricots
- 1 tart apple, cubed
- 6 green onions, ends trimmed, thinly sliced
- Coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- 1 cup potato sticks
Make The Dressing: Whisk all the ingredients together in the bottom of a large-ish bowl; set aside. Can be made up to a day ahead. Cover and store in the fridge.
Assemble the Salad: To the bowl with the dressing, add all the salad ingredients, except the cilantro and potato sticks. If you made the dressing ahead, pour dressing over (you may not need all of it). Toss until well combined. Taste and correct the seasoning, with additional salt and pepper, if needed. If serving immediately, add the potato sticks and cilantro, if using. Toss. Serve cold.
NOTE: You can prepare the salad (without the dressing), up to a day ahead. Store, covered tightly in the fridge. Toss with dressing just before serving. Top with the potato sticks and serve immediately.
Chicken Salad, Brazilian-Style Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2018. All rights reserved.