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Archive for February 21, 2017

FOOD FUN: Chicken Salad Without The Sandwich

Like chicken salad, but trying to cut back on bread?

If you want to avoid the bread, croissants and wraps, there’s always a scoop of chicken salad on greens, in lettuce cups, or stuffed into a bell pepper, tomato, or avocado half.

But we thought these ideas from Willow Tree Farm add allure to a long-time favorite.

Whether a filling for celery or fennel stalks, or a base for mini “cucumber sandwiches,” these make fun appetizers or snacks.

Use your own chicken salad, or one from Willow Tree Farm.

cucumber sandwiches. Serve #Sriracha Chicken Salad between two cucumbers for a crunchy, cool and spicy bite.

 
RECIPE: CHICKEN SALAD STACKS

For snacks, with beer, or as an amuse bouche before dinner. For something sweeter, you can use apple slices.

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 container of Willow Tree Farm Sriracha Chicken Salad (or your recipe)
  • Garnish: cilantro or other herb
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SLICE the cucumber into 1/2″ slices

    2. PLACE the chicken salad on half of the cucumber slices. Top with a cucumber slice.

    3. ROUND the edges with a spatula. Garnish with cilantro and secure with a toothpick.

    THE HISTORY OF CHICKEN SALAD

    It may come as a surprise—because modern mayonnaise was invented around 1800——but the Chinese were the first to serve variations of “chicken salad” (see below).

    The ingredients were not the same as what we call Chinese chicken salad*, but included pieces of chicken mixed with a variety of spices and oils and another binder, such as rice.

    The American form of chicken salad was first served in 1863 by Town Meats, a meat market in Wakefield, Rhode Island. The owner, Liam Gray, mixed leftover chicken with mayonnaise, tarragon, and grapes. It became such a popular item that the meat market was converted to a delicatessen.

    Modern Chicken Salad

    In the U.S., chicken salad is a cold salad with chicken as the main ingredient, and typically bound with mayonnaise with optional mustard. Other ingredients can include bell pepper, celery, hard-boiled egg, onion, pickles or pickle relish, plus herbs, such as dill, rosemary or tarragon.

    It can also include diced apples, grapes or dried fruit, such as cherries, cranberries or raisins. Diced mango is another popular addition as are nuts, such as almonds, pecans and walnuts.

    In some areas of the U.S., especially the South, chicken salad may be a garden salad topped with fried, grilled, or roasted chicken, sliced.

    While today chicken salad is mostly served in a sandwich or wrap, it has a history as a ladies’ luncheon staple, served on a bed of greens with sliced tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, bell pepper rings, and olives or other garnish, served with crackers.

    Variations were inevitable, using ingredients specific to regional and international cuisines.

  • Chinese chicken salad is made with celery, sliced almonds, fruit (diced apples, mandarin orange segments or pineapple chunks) and mayonnaise, and topped with fried Chinese noodles.
  • Southwestern chicken salad includes avocado, black beans, cilantro, corn kernels, diced tomatoes, onion, shredded cheddar cheese and a garnish of crushed tortilla chips (recipe).
  •  
    Modern recipes expand the concept of chicken salad to pasta salad or Caesar salad with chunks of chicken; add wing sauce and blue cheese for buffalo chicken salad.

    Binders can include anything you like: blue cheese dressing, hummus, pesto, remoulade sauce, Russian dressing, Thai peanut sauce, and on and on.

    In other countries, chicken salad can be made with any number of dressings, along with couscous, pasta, rice and vegetables.

    So don’t be wary: Experiment!

    Fancy presentations serve it in a lettuce-lined coupe; molded into a ring; or scooped into a toast cup, avocado half or pineapple half.

    As with any recipe, add whatever you like; from bacon to capers to pickled jalapeño.

    ABOUT WILLOW TREE FARMS

    Willow Tree Farms makes pot pies and chicken salad from premium white meat.

    In addition to original chicken salad, there’s a flavorful selection of:

  • Avocado Chicken Salad
  • Buffalo Chicken Salad
  • Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
  • Sriracha Chicken Salad
  •  
    The products are sold at major retailers, including BJ’s, Stop & Shop and Whole Foods in New England and the East Coast. Here’s a store locator.

     

    Chicken Salad Celery Sticks

    Chicken Salad Cucumber Stacks

    Chicken Salad In Wonton Cups

    Mango Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocado

    Southwestern Chicken Salad

    Avocado Chicken Salad

    [1] Filled celery sticks and [2] cucumber stacks from Willow Tree Farm. [3] Chicken salad in wonton wrappers (here’s the recipe from Shared). [4] Mango chicken salad in an avocado (here’s the recipe from The Real Food Dieticians). [5] Southwestern chicken salad recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. [6] Avocado chicken salad (here’s the recipe from Whole And Heavenly Oven).

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Olive Salsa For Fish, Vegetables & Eggs

    Baked Salmon With Salsa Verde

    Cauliflower With Olive Sauce

    Castelvetrano Olives In Bowl

    Cerignola Olives

    [1] and [2] Fish and cauliflower with salsa verde (photos courtesy Good Eggs). [3] Castelvetrano olives (photo courtesy Musco Food) and [4] cerignola olives (photo courtesy Miccio), our favorite green olives..

     

    Many Americans think that salsa is a spicy tomato and chile dip for tortilla chips.

    In fact, salsa is the Spanish word for sauce of any kind. Salsa de chocolate, for example, is chocolate sauce.

    The Spanish word salsa derives from the Latin salsa, meaning salty, which itself derives from the Latin sal, salt (most Spanish salsas are not salty, however, but spicy).

    Not all salsas are Mexican in origin; in fact, each Spanish-heritage country has its own variety of salsa (Mexico has dozens, a different specialty in each state).

  • Chimichurri, a spicy vinegar-parsley sauce, is the leading condiment in Argentina and Uruguay.
  • Mojo, in the Caribbean, typically consists of olive oil, garlic and citrus juice, and is used both to marinate meats and as a dipping sauce.
  • Peri peri or piri piri sauce is considered the national condiment of Peru: a base of vinegar and oil, garlic and lemon juice with hot birds eye chiles. As with mojo, it is also used as a cooking sauce.
  •  
    The list goes on. Check out our Salsa Glossary for different types of salsa.

    Today, we’re yet another variety of salsa. This one is a salsa verde* (green sauce) featuring green olives. It can be used over fish, chicken, rice, eggs, and in the recipe below, vegetables.

    RECIPE: SALSA VERDE WITH OLIVES ON FISH & VEGETABLES

    Not your typical salsa verde, this recipe is chunky with olives and almonds. Any leftovers are equally good at room temperature for lunch the next day.

    Ingredients For 2-3 Servings

  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • A handful arugula roughly chopped
  • A handful parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives
  • A handful toasted almonds, roughly chopped
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon capers
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound fish: char, salmon, trout or anything that looks good
  • 4 lemon or lime wedges
  •  
    OLIVE TIPS

  • Use good olives: the type you would be happy to nibble on from the bowl. Pitted olives are preferred, unless you don’t mind removing the pits from your mouth at the table.
  • Type of olive: You only need one variety of olive, but found a pitted green olive mix from an olive bar, which included castelvetrano, cerignola, gordal, manzanilla and picholine. Since we left the olives whole, we could taste the different flavors.
  • Chopped versus whole: We like olives so much that we left them whole (or were we too lazy to chop them?).
  • Substitute: You can substitute black olives if you don’t like green.
  • Olive Glossary: Check out the different types of olives.
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Spread the florets in a single layer on one half of a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

    2. PLACE the fish, skin-side down on the other half of the sheet. Run your fingers over the flesh to check for pin bones and remove them with kitchen tweezers. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

    3. BAKE until the florets just start to brown, about 20 to 25 minutes (longer if you prefer a softer texture or more well-done fish). While the food is baking…

    4. MAKE the salsa verde. In a small mixing bowl, combine the chopped greens, olives, almonds, vinegar and enough olive oil to bind without. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

    5. REMOVE the baking sheet from the oven. Plate and spoon the salsa over the cauliflower and the fish and. Serve with a lemon or lime wedge.
    ________________

    *Salsa verde is typically made with green chiles, tomatillos and cilantro. Used primarily as a garnish rather than a dip, it is much thinner than a tomato-based salsa roja/red sauce (this recipe, laden with olives and almonds, is an exception). A salsa verde can be fresh or cooked.

     
      

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