Off the Charts Chicken Salads
Posted on May 17, 2012
Chicken salad is so ubiquitous at the deli counter that it’s sometimes overlooked. Of course, if you’ve ever tasted a truly great chicken salad–and you know you have–it’s impossible to ignore. You know the kind; plenty of pulled chicken meat, crispy crunchy bits of vegetables and just the right amount of dressing. Interested in learning the secret to chicken salad success? We’ve got your back.
Cook to perfection: A great chicken salad can start with either grilled, roasted or poached chicken. In fact, we’ve even tasted a fried chicken salad that’s out of this world. Whatever the technique, make sure your FreeBird is cooked through to 165ºF and never overcooked. Starting with a moist, juicy FreeBird helps insure that you’ll end up with the perfect texture.
Think big: Cut chicken no smaller than 1/2 inch chunks. Better yet, give it a rustic look and mouthfeel by pulling it apart into the appropriate sized pieces. When cut too small, the texture of your chicken salad become too homogenous and the flavors of the dressing will dominate.
Dress with style: For a traditionalist looking beyond mayo is impossible. But for those who beat to their own drumstick, Dijon mustard, sesame oil, pesto or a simple vinaigrette (but not together!) are exciting options. Consider adding fresh green herbs like parsley, dill, cilantro or chives to complement your base sauce. Want to spice things up? Add chopped chili peppers, curry powder or your favorite salsa to the mix.
Avoid overdressing: You’ve heard of the saying, “Too much of a good thing.” Right? That goes for mayo, or any other chicken salad dressing for that matter. In order to let your star ingredient, FreeBird Chicken, rock the stage, it’s important to give it some breathing room. Start by stirring in a small dollop of mayo and work from there. You can always add more, but after stirring you can’t remove the excess.
Add dimension: Chopped celery and red onion add both flavor and crunchy, juicy texture to a classic chicken salad. Of course, you could find others that provide the same results in less traditional ways. Red bell peppers, radishes and jicama are certain to give each bite a burst. Crisp apples and sweet grapes would add yet another angle. Stir in toasted almonds, pecans or walnuts and you’re certain to have a hit on your hands.