Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Peachy Pecan Chicken Salad

This peachy keen chicken salad starting out innocently enough. Our Saturday routine has become pretty predictable since having a baby. We take Baby A to the gym and take turns watching him and working out. Then we go to the farmers market together and Kevin heads to the grocery store while I watch the baby and make lunch. I have gotten in the habit of making a huge salad of some sort that we can eat over the course of the weekend. And now that I have mastered the art of homemade mayo (no easy feat, let me tell you), I have been making a lot of chicken and turkey salads.

As I've mentioned, we always have peaches on hand in the summer, so as I was foraging in the refrigerator for chicken salad ingredients I decided to grab a couple peaches. I forgot to mention that most of my chicken salads are made with any and every fruit and veggie I can find in the crisper. So today's lunch turned into a chicken salad with toasted pecans, peaches, cucumbers, carrots, red onion, grapes and some fresh herbs from the garden all mixed together with a dijon mayonnaise. I then topped it with a smattering of fresh from the farmers market blackberries. I just really wanted to use the word "smattering" right there. Don't ask me why.

This one was a HUGE hit in our house. It was sweet, but not too sweet, and there were lots and lots of veggies in there and a good serving of protein from the chicken. A perfect post-workout lunch! We served this over a bed of spinach and shredded cabbage, but you can use whatever greens you have on hand. This made four big lunch servings for us. If you used it as a side dish, it would be closer to six servings, making it a great dish for a summer potluck or picnic!

Peachy Pecan Chicken Salad
Serves: 4 to 6
Time: 20 Minutes

For the dijon mayo:
1 Egg yolk, room temperature
1 tsp dijon Mustard
1 tbsp Lemon juice
Dash of salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

For the salad:
1 cup pecans
2 cups cold, shredded chicken
2 peaches, diced
1 medium cucumber, diced
2 medium carrots, shredded
1 small red onion, diced
1 cup grapes, halved
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

For the dijon mayo:
Add egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a blender. Blend on low until well combined.

Very slowly add the olive oil while still blending on a low setting. Start just drop by drop adding the oil and as you go you can start pouring faster ONLY after it emulsifies.

Once the olive oil as been added, the mayonnaise should be a thick consistency. Add the coconut oil, while still blending on a low setting. You can pour the coconut oil in more quickly.

Continue blending until all of the oil has been combined and you have a nice, thick mayonnaise.

For the salad:
Preheat oven to 350F.

Spread pecans evenly over a baking sheet. Toast in oven for five minutes. Remove from oven and let cool while you assemble the remaining ingredients and make the mayonnaise.

Add chicken, peaches, cucumber, carrots, red onion, grapes and herbs to a large bowl.

Stir in mayonnaise until everything is evenly coated.

Top with fresh blackberries and serve over your choice of greens.