Friday, October 07, 2005

Chickensalad



This always tastes better than I'm expecting, better than my mental image of "chicken salad" tastes. It's hardly fancy, though serving it scooped into a leaf of Boston lettuce makes it look like food that fancy people would serve to company. (Also a little tribute to Jacques P├ępin, who seems never to miss an opportunity to serve food cupped in Boston lettuce leaves).

First I brined and cooked a chicken. I wanted both chicken stock and cooked chicken to feed the little man and do whatever else with, so I simmered a fryer with some carrots, parsnips, onions, and celery, sliced the meat off the bones after about an hour, and then simmered what was left for the rest of the evening.



I might as well come clean. What I really wanted was schmaltz, and in the same way that I'll order any dish that comes with garlic mashed potatoes, I bought and cooked this chicken for its fringe benefits. So I skinned it (except for the wings, which seemed like way too much trouble) and now I have a whole chicken's worth of fat to render for cooking potatoes, kugels, matzo balls, kishka, who knows.

To make the salad, I used meat from one breast and one thigh chopped into one centimeter cubes. Additionally, one rib of celery, minced; half a shallot, very finely minced; a handful of slivered almonds, toasted; a handful of dried cranberries; a handful of frozen peas; a drizzle of white wine vinegar; a small pinch each of black and cayenne pepper; a big pinch of salt; and a couple of soupspoonfuls of Hellman's original mayonnaise. I mixed all of this in a big bowl, snapped its picture, and ate it up.

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