Summer is here in full force and what better way to celebrate her arrival than a tasty chicken salad sandwich. My take on this traditional chicken dish is sure to please anyone. It’s great to eat alone, with crackers, and, my preferred method, as a sandwich. And for those with kids, it’s a great way to get them to eat fruit and veggies. I personally like good sized pieces of the apple and celery, especially when they’re fresh. Where I live, getting extremely fresh produce is random. However, the almighty Publix is supposed to be building a new store here, so my fingers are crossed. Anyway, here’s the recipe and I hope you enjoy!
3 Cups Chopped Chicken Breast (4 – 5 Boneless Breasts)
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 ½ teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Original Blend Mrs. Dash® (optional)
1 Cup Celery, diced (2 Stalks)
1 Scallion, finely chopped (optional)
1 Cup Red Seedless Grapes
1 Red Delicious Apple, diced
1/3 Cup Kraft© Olive Oil Mayonnaise, plus 2 Tablespoons regular Mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Sugar
1/3 Cup Walnuts
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Thoroughly wash and dry chicken breasts, and arrange on an ungreased baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil on the chicken and season with the salt, pepper, and Mrs. Dash®. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until done, but not dry.
While the chicken is cooking, chop and prepare the other ingredients. I’m sure that some are wondering what the lemon is for. Well, it’s to keep your apple from turning brown, but I personally think lemon juice enhances the flavors of almost any dish. And, the zest of a lemon has the most amazing aroma. I love it. If you’re a one bowl person, squeeze the lemon juice over the ingredients after you add the chopped apple, if you place your ingredients in separate bowls, squeeze the lemon directly over the apples.
When the chicken is done, take it out of the oven and set it aside to let the juices flow through the chicken. I just let it set until I can handle the chicken without burning myself. It works out well because I can have all my ingredients ready and start my clean up.
I usually have all of the ingredients with the exception of the mayo and sugar in a bowl. As you can see, I prefer Pyrex bowls. I can see everything and when I mix, the round sides work well with my spatula. After I add the chopped chicken, I add my mayo about a tablespoon full at a time. I gave measurements because I find that this is how much is normally required, but I will admit this is a personal thing. Since I use two different mayos, the result is a creamier, savory flavor, but the olive oil mayo is totally optional. However, it’s lower in fat and tastes AMAZING; but I wouldn’t tell someone to go out and buy it because at most supermarkets, it’s around $4.50 – sometimes more.
The last ingredient is sugar, and this is also a taste thing. I like a chicken salad that rides the line between savory and sweet. My mother and sister both like a sweeter chicken salad, so the addition of the sugar gives it a great balance. Just make sure you mix everything well so all the flavors will meld. I like it when it’s warm and freshly made, but with the fresh veggies and fruit, it tastes just as good days later after it’s gotten chilled.
As I’ve dubbed this, the perfect summer sandwich, the final and arguably most important component is the bread. I like whole grain bread. I used to be a huge fan of honey wheat (with total preference to Sara Lee), but we started buying Nature’s Own a few months ago and they have a honey 7 grain that is to die for.