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Curried Chicken Salad

Turmeric tints this familiar Anglo-Indian chicken salad a marigold-yellow color. For a spicier dish, add a touch more fiery cayenne. The salad can be served mounded on lettuce leaves, or stuffed into avocado halves or between slices of bread for sandwiches.

Ingredients:

  • 3 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves, about 1 1/2 lb. total
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 3 fresh rosemary sprigs, each 2 inches long
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup water, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 3 Tbs. crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 5 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cashews (optional)
  • Red leaf lettuce leaves for serving

Directions:

Season the chicken breasts with 1/2 tsp. of the salt and 1/2 tsp. of the black pepper. In a fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the rosemary, turn the chicken over and cook until browned on the other side, 4 to 5 minutes.

Pour the wine into the pan with the chicken and stir to scrape up the browned bits on the pan bottom. Add the 1/4 cup water, cover, reduce the heat to low and cook, adding more water if needed, until the chicken is opaque throughout, about 35 minutes. Set aside and let cool. The chicken can be cooked ahead, covered and refrigerated overnight. Remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Remove the meat from the bones and tear into bite-size pieces. Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, crème fraîche, cumin, cayenne, turmeric and the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and black pepper. Add the chicken, celery, onion, parsley and nuts and stir to coat with the mayonnaise mixture. To serve, line individual plates with red leaf lettuce leaves and top with a portion of the chicken salad. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Salad of the Day, by Georgeanne Brennan (Weldon Owen, 2012).