Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
I like to think I'm good with words. But I'm just not sure.
Yeah, I like to write, which would seem to imply it. But the thing is, with writing I can edit at any time.
Spoken words can be confusing.
Sometimes I just don't express myself well. Does that ever happen to you?
Like I was reading the other day at a childbirth class that when labor is approaching, a woman's "demeanor" changes. And I was like, "What does that mean?" wondering like, she gets angry? Sad? What?
And the teacher patiently starts explaining the meaning of the word "demeanor".
Or like when I was at the doctor's office and was like, "My arm has really been itching this week!" Awkward pause while doctor waits for me to continue, in which I panic and go in two directions at once, rolling up my sleeve to show her while explaining that, "It's gone now though."
"I don't see anything."
"Well, you know. It's...gone now."
Sometimes people give me a hard time outright. The kid I nanny (five years old) loves to follow up every sentence with a long, drawn-out "DUH!"
That is why I like cooking. Or one reason, anyway. Because when I cook, sometimes I get things right. Sometimes things are put together in such a simple, step-by-step way it's impossible for me to get them wrong.
This chicken salad is one of those type things.
You may notice that there are more pictures in this post than usual. This is because the neurotic part of me got a huge kick out of photographing the gradual addition of ingredients.
Then seeing them whipped together into a glorious frenzy at the end. Hope you enjoy that too.
Beware - it's filling. My whole-pizza-gobbling husband got full after one sandwich on a ciabatta roll of this stuff.
Hooray! I always count it as a personal triumph when I make things that actually make him full.
It's one of those summery crowd-pleasers, you know? Whether your crowd is your own home and family, or a big barbecue potluck (although you might want to be careful taking the spotlight off the barbecue).
Make it and enjoy.
Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad (adapted from Smitten Kitchen...she is my favorite lately, have you noticed?)
This salad is so tasty it can be eaten all by itself from a bowl. I of course prefer it on a really nice bread like ciabatta or sourdough. But really, it is adaptable!
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
4 cups cubed (1/2 inch) cooked chicken (about 1 3/4 lb)
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 celery rib, diced into small bits (1 cup)
2 or more tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 cup dried cranberries
2/3 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons vinegar (herb vinegar is particularly nice, but plain old white will do)
3 teaspoons dried herbs of your choice (I recommend tarragon and thyme - 2 tablespoons of fresh would also do the trick)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Really complicated directions: Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl until combined well.
Eat on a bun, atop romaine lettuce, with pita chips, or straight from the bowl.