I just love chicken. Mostly because there are so many ways to cook it. But also because it defrosts relatively quickly, especially if you’re like me and have forgotten to thaw it before leaving the house in the morning.
When I want something easy to get into the oven relatively fast, roasted chicken does the trick. When I’ve got more time to prep, I grind chicken thighs in a food processor (or if you’re lucky enough to have a meat grinder, that would work beautifully) for chicken “meatballs,” or marinate chicken breasts and drumsticks in yogurt and spices, bread it with panko, and bake. But when I’m looking for a versatile lunch, I go for this chicken salad that I can’t stop making.
This recipe came together after chatting with one of the chefs I work with at Sur la Table. The class she just finished teaching included a recipe for wasabi mayo and suggested that it’d be great to use for chicken salad. I take no credit; the idea was all hers. Here’s how I put it all together.
Chicken Salad with Wasabi Mayonnaise
2 tablespoons wasabi mayonnaise, or more, to taste (recipe follows)
4 chicken breasts, poached and cooled
3 scallions, green and white parts, minced
2-3 tablespoons sesame oil, to taste
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch cubes
kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1. Make one recipe of the wasabi mayonnaise. Keep out 2 tablespoons for the salad, save the rest in an airtight container in the fridge.
2. After the poached chicken has cooled, tear it into small pieces. If you prefer your chicken salad to be chunky, cut the chicken into bite-size chunks. Put the chicken in a medium-sized bowl.
3. Add the scallions and carrots; mix until combined.
4. Add the wasabi mayo and sesame oil; mix well. Add salt and pepper if needed, to taste.
You can serve the chicken salad several ways: toast some crusty bread and make a sandwich; scoop some into a couple of pieces of lettuce (or napa cabbage) and wrap them up; or make your favorite mixed greens salad and add a few scoops on top. Serve with steamed edamame, fresh fruit, or a tomato and cucumber salad. However, sometimes I just take out a few tablespoons and put it on some crackers.
Wasabi Mayonnaise (courtesy of Sur la Table)
3 teaspoons wasabi powder
1 teaspoon water
2 large egg yolks
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1½ tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup canola oil
fresh black pepper
1. Place wasabi powder in a small bowl and mix with water until it forms a paste.
2. In the bowl of a food processor with a metal blade, add egg yolks, salt, lemon juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce and mustard. Process until ingredients are well combined.
3. With the motor running, gradually add the oil until the mixture resembles a creamy mayonnaise.
4. Add the wasabi paste, mix well, and taste. Adjust salt and pepper as needed, or add more wasabi paste if you prefer a more spicy mayonnaise.