Chicken salad often comes to our mind when we think of the best salad. Moreover, people across the world believe that Southern, Greek or Italian salads are the finest of all salads. However, it is not the case with the United States of America, which has another salad in vogue nowadays. It is the chicken salad.
A Great American Dilemma by Robert Andino makes a convincing case that the salad was very much a part of American life long before it became a national pastime. The chicken salad has been on the market for about a hundred years. Some historians tell of the first salad (with chicken) ever served in a restaurant was in the city of Chicago in the late 1800s. Just to mention, many successful restaurants used to offer this unassuming side dish in the good old times.
Andino chronicles the early history of this salad through the stories of people from many eras. A Populist white farmer of the Midwest was the one to grow the first of this kind of salad. He told me that he had “the sweetest taste of this dish.” “Man may be a social animal,” writes Andino, “but in his culinary field he has yet to prove himself the equal of the chicken.” Of course, people did try to duplicate the secret recipe of the original salad, but they never really managed to get close.
What Are Some Great Chicken Salad Recipes?
In one of the most famous cookbooks of all time, the Mrs. Dash Complete Book of Recipes, there is a good salad recipe. The first five ingredients are from the original recipe. The recipe is fairly simple and contains the basic dressings of mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice, brown sugar, mustard, and vinegar. The vinegar flavor gives the salad a kick.
Another recipe calls for Italian dressing and French dressing, and the three house salad dressings are combined. While the best salad may not have all the same ingredients, the final salad may well be the best salad, based upon taste.
Andino’s book also includes several interesting dishes that combine the best salad with something else. For example, a recipe for a Cornmeal Chicken Salad (a variation of the famous Pineapple Banana Salad) suggests using teriyaki sauce instead of mayonnaise. The Teriyaki Salad recipe uses carrot slices for one ingredient instead of a mix of mayonnaise and pineapple.
Chicken Salad Melt is also among the favorites of Mrs. Dash. This salad contains chicken and corn tortilla chips and not mayonnaise and lime wedges as ingredients. So, according to Andino, it loses one of the main ingredients of her classic.
In “The Cooks’ Almanac” by Elaine Povich, she gives a recipe for Chicken Salad Frosted Tips. She says that this dressing is a blend of yellow and orange vinaigrette, a little Worcestershire sauce, and a drizzle of raspberry vinaigrette and that it is served with two pieces of roasted chicken.
Is It Possible To Make This Salad Sans Mayonnaise?
It is difficult to find any authentic recipe for chicken salads that don’t call for mayonnaise. Thus, this salad isn’t really a salad. Andino’s recipe for Chicken Salads Spread does call for mayonnaise and says that she takes a nice touch of vinegar into account.
While they may all have their advantages, the favorite variations are those that combine the best salad with something else. A Chicken Salad Sandwich, which uses the same ingredients as the classic salad recipe but with chicken instead of lettuce, seems to work best.
Some recipes may be easier to find than others, and Andino gives some recommendations for others, too. For instance, a recipe for a Fruit Salad made with peach preserves is especially suitable for vegetarian visitors.
As for my favorite, I still consider my salad a favorite because it is so versatile. It can be eaten alone as a dip or as a salad with grilled chicken or fish. It works well in place of accompaniment for sandwiches with ham or turkey sandwich meat and as a dip for vegetables and sandwiches with hum-mussels or fried onions.