June 24, 2013

Curried anything is my Achilles' Heel. I incorporate curry powder into every recipe I can get away with—plus, in the past, a couple of ill-conceived desserts that I did not get away with. To preface, I worked at a Caribbean restaurant for five years. Our rotisserie chicken was served with a curry sauce that, upon first taste, I wanted to drink by the gallon. And so the obsession was born.

In looking for an affordable way to do lunches and curb my curry cravings this week I perused our recipe collection and landed on All You’s Curried Chicken Salad. Chicken salad is a genius make-ahead meal because it’s customizable, easy, and the flavor improves as it sits. Plus, after working on the line at the restaurant I’m pretty quick at breaking down a rotisserie chicken.

Curried Chicken Salad1 cup walnut halves1 rotisserie chicken (broken down and shredded)1 cup seedless red grapes, halved crosswise1 large celery rib, thinly sliced2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced1/2 cup mayonnaise1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt or sour cream (I used Greek yogurt)1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar1/4 teaspoon curry powder1/4 teaspoon pepper

PreparationPreheat oven to 375°F. Spread walnuts on a shallow baking sheet and roast in oven until toasted, about 10 minutes. Let cool.Coarsely chop walnuts and transfer 3/4 cup of them to a bowl with chicken, grapes and celery; toss.In a small bowl, whisk together scallions, mayonnaise, yogurt, vinegar, curry powder and pepper. Scrape mixture over chicken mixture and toss well.

I made two batches: One followed the recipe exactly and one quadrupled the amount of curry called for because I couldn’t help myself. I would advise sticking to the original recipe—it’s perfect. For those who aren't as fanatic about curry, give it a shot because the spice is subtle. I served the finished product over a bed of arugula with a dry white wine, and then sneaked an extra bite or seven a few hours later.

For next time:My chicken yielded slightly less than four cups and ended up a bit overdressed. If this happens again, I could lose some of the mayo.

What ingredients do you use to make a perfect chicken salad? Are you a traditionalist or an experimenter? Fruit or no fruit? Let us know in the comments section!