Wotta Chicken Salad!

This is the oldest recipe I have — I think it dates back to 1981.   I used to pore over my mom’s Gourmet magazines long ago, salivating over food I had never even heard of.   After some pretty gruesome recipe experiments at 19 and 20, I started to seriously read cookbooks from the Santa Rosa public library — and a passion was born.  I kept it simple as I lived on a meager budget at the time, but by age 24, I was a decent cook.  I subscribed to Bon Appetit magazine, and began my paper recipe collection — a box of torn out pages.

This recipe is from Craig Claiborne, a food critic, and cookbook writer — and I joined the book of the month club just to get cookbooks,and his was the first one I received.   I didn’t make his chicken salad recipe right away — I think I had it a couple of years before I did — and I served it if I had a friend over for lunch — or if we went to play cards somewhere because someone once mentioned to me it’s a great bridge dish.   Thirty years later I finally learned to play bridge, and in an old fashioned style, I bring these little tea sandwiches wherever I play.  I’ve tweaked the recipe over the years — but this is the one I most recently made for Cindy, Konne, and Cindy’s 100 year old bridge playing mom, Marion.  I think it has a significant yum factor.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1  half chicken breast, skin on 
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped apple (I love Pink Ladys)
  • cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup drained and chopped capers
  • 1/4 cup yogurt, lightens the mayo and provides a nice tang
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade (but if not, Hellman’s if you can find it)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, or to taste, I usually add a little more (a good quality wine-y tasting brand is important — I like Kimberly Cabernet) 
  •  salt to taste
  •  freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
  • 8 to 12 slices of a tight crumbed white or rye bread, crusts removed and cut into fingers (3 per slice)

PREPARATION

Place the chicken breast on a small parchment covered baking sheet (easier cleanup), season the chicken with salt and pepper and rub with a teaspoon of olive oil.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until internal temperature is 165 degrees.  Allow to cool, then slice into 1/2 slices, then chop into small pieces.

Put the chicken into a medium sized bowl and add the celery, apple, onion and capers.

Blend together the mayonnaise and vinegar, parsley, scallions and salt and pepper and gently stir to blend.

Allow a heaping tablespoon for each finger sandwich and garnish with finely chopped chives.

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