Methodist chicken salad
August 1, 2015
There’s nothing that says summer much more than chicken salad. It’s not a dish that often just calls out to me, and there are a lot of chicken salads I don’t like. It can’t be too sweet. It can’t be too moist. Grapes are OK in it, raisins are not. It should never, under any circumstances, have celery (because I loathe celery, and will eat around it, leaving a tiny green pile on my plate).
There are a couple of versions out there I like, though, and the one I sometimes resort to when I’m in the notion for it is what I for years called Margaret Fogleman’s Chicken Salad. Not until I had the opportunity to say hello to Mrs. Fogleman, a lovely lady who’s one of the best cooks in the world, recently and the topic of chicken salad came up did I learn that was really Anne Hurst’s (another Marion United Methodist Church member) chicken salad that she always made.
It’ll always be Mrs. Fogleman’s chicken salad to me, although for purposes of this post, I’m just calling it Methodist Chicken Salad. Please note the recipe calls for celery. I don’t add it.
Methodist Chicken Salad
- 1 2 1/2 to 3 pound chicken, cooked (I used half of a bigger one that I’d roasted)
- 1 c. seedless white grapes
- 1 5-oz can water chestnuts, diced (recipe says sliced, but I like smaller pieces, so I chop ’em a bit
- 1 1/2 cup slivered almonds, divided
- 1 c. diced celery
- 1 1/2 c. mayonnaise (recipe doesn’t say Hellman’s, but I do)
- 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp lemon juice
Dice the chicken the way you like it; recipe says bite-sized, but I like mine minced pretty fine. Add the grapes, a cup of the almonds, the water chestnuts. combine the curry powder, soy sauce and lemon juice with mayo; pour over chicken, et. al., and toss to mix.
People. This is good chicken salad. I got Mrs. Fogleman to give me the recipe the first time I ever ate it, and made it often, until I lost the recipe. Now that I’ve learned I’ve had it ever since I bought the Marion Methodist cookbook a few years ago, I’m making it again.
Don’t know what it is that makes it so good. It’s not identifiable that it has curry powder and soy sauce in it, but there’s a taste that says, “wow….that’s different.” When I first had it, I thought it had the old Durkee’s Sandwich Spread (do they still make that stuff??) in it. I did cut back on the amount of curry powder since I got mine at the Middle Eastern market and it’s curry-powder-on-steroids, but if you’re using McCormick’s, the full 1 1/2 tsp. is fine. A half-tablespoon of honey in the dressing would not go amiss.
This, with a caprese, is perhaps the finest summer lunch on the planet.
Speaking of capreses, mine have been greatly enhanced of late by the use of my new favorite condiment — Raimondo Family Winery’s basil-infused olive oil. I had a bottle of basil oil and used it all, and it wasn’t very basil-y to start with. This oil, made in Arkansas from imported olive oil, from Spain, is available at several outlets around the state including, I was pleased to learn, one right here in Jonesboro (though I got mine on a stop at her store in Mountain Home a few weeks ago). You can also get it from their website, though shipping ain’t cheap.
I really like it better than fresh basil. My basil in the herb garden, for some cause, has developed a bitter taste. This is nice and smooth.
Anyway, next time you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em are in the notion for chicken salad, try the Methodist version. And have it with a caprese.