You know how The Goddess is always going on about leftovers, right? Well, she decided that it might be helpful, if she posted some of the things she does with her leftovers. This Chicken Salad uses leftover Cumin-Garlic-Lime Chicken with Honey. Okay, before we go any further, the chicken I used for this was not from the post I did a couple of weeks ago for the Cumin-Lime-Garlic Chicken with Honey. That should have been eaten by now, or feed to the trash can! No, I made another batch on Sunday, just cuz’ the first batch disappeared before I could have leftovers! You could always use leftover rotisserie chicken, if you don’t have some of the Cumin-Lime-Garlic Chicken with Honey lounging in your fridge…whatever makes your life easier.
This is such a good thing on hot, steamy summer days. It’s cold, light and you don’t have to heat up the kitchen. It’s pretty much a one bowl meal…Okay, so you might want to mix up the dressing in a separate bowl, but I’ve sometimes made the dressing in the bottom of the bowl, then added everything on top, stir and you’re done! Again, it’s up to you how you want to do this.
I chose not to add celery this time, but usually I do. I like the flavor and the crunch it adds. My brain has been perseverating constantly…”Make chicken salad. Make chicken salad.” What could I do? So I gave up and did just that. First, let me just say, that I absolutely adore chicken salad. I don’t care what you put in it, I’m there for you. When I make chicken salad, it usually is never the same twice. There are basics: chicken (duh!), onions of some sort, usually celery (though not this time), and mayo. It can be just that simple or more complicated. I like the mayo to just bind the chicken, but if you like more, use more. Sometimes I add curry powder to the mayo, sometimes tarragon, sometimes frozen orange or apple juice concentrate, etc. To the salad, well really, anything goes! I’ve used tomatoes (they are a fruit), peaches, blueberries, apples, apricots, mangoes, pineapple or nectarines. And some dried fruit—cranberries, apricots, dates, figs, or pineapple. If you want some “crunch”, sometimes I’ve added chow mein noodle, crispy french fried potatoes, toasted pecans, walnuts, peanuts or cashews. See what I mean? You can use whatever floats your chicken-salad-boat. Maybe that’s what we should call this—”Whatever-Floats-Your-Boat Chicken Salad”. It really is that flexible.
Not only does chicken salad taste terrific and is a perfect hot weather dinner, it’s also a great way to “clean” out your fridge. You know you have small amounts of things lurking in there. Today, I had part of a large tomato leftover from breakfast (tomato sandwiches, baby!), half of a nectarine (who doesn’t eat the whole thing?), a couple of slices of ham, a few bread-and-butter pickles, and some scallions that needed to be used. The dried cranberries and lime were just the “gravy”, so to speak. So, that’s how this chicken salad was born…it’s a keeper, too.
Chicken Salad with Tomatoes, Scallions and Fruit
- 1 fully cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced (about 2 cups)
- 3 scallions, including some of the green part, sliced (about 3/4 cup)
- 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
- 1/2 nectarine (or mango), diced
- 2 slices ham, diced
- 1/4 cup diced bread-and-butter pickles (about 10 slices)
- 1/3-1/2 cup dried cranberries
- Grated zest of 1/2 lime
- 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Dijon-type mustard
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, except the mayo, mustard and lime juice. Toss to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the mayo and mustard. Pour over the chicken and friends in the bowl, squeeze the lime juice over the whole thing and stir it all together. Taste, and correct the seasoning. Serve as is, between slices of toasted bread, rolled into a tortilla, stuffed into a hollowed out tomato (or avocado) or half of a pita round.
NOTE: Vary the amounts and types of fruit, change the type of onions, change or omit the herbs…make it the way you like it. I usually add some sort of fruit or a drizzle of honey. I particularly like to use leftover Cumin-Lime-Garlic Chicken with Honey for this. If I use a rotisserie chicken, then I add a good pinch of ground cumin; it just makes it better!
Chicken Salad with Tomatoes, Scallions and Fruit©Marcia Lahens 2016. All rights reserved.
These amounts are suggestions. I’m always pretty heavy-handed with the onion, whichever type I choose. If that doesn’t work for you, then use what you like. Remember—a recipe is just a list of suggested options. Okay, that doesn’t exactly apply when you’re baking, but it definitely applies here.
I put this on toasted potato bread. I think this would have been wonderful with some crumbled bacon and diced avocado…next time, next time!