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Curried Chicken Salad

The addition of spices such as cayenne pepper and turmeric bring an Asian flavor to this chicken salad. For a spicier curry, add a little more cayenne. The salad can be served as is or used as a filling for halved avocados.

Ingredients:

  • 3 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, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio 
  • 1/4 cup water, plus more as needed 
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt 
  • 3 Tbs. crème fraîche  
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin 
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper 
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric 
  • 5 celery stalks, finely chopped 
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus sprigs for garnish  
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds or cashews (optional) 

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 golden, about 5 minutes. Add the rosemary, turn the chicken over and cook until brown on the other side, 4 to 5 minutes more. Add the wine and stir, scraping up the browned bits from 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.

Transfer the chicken to a plate 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 cut the meat into 1/2-inch cubes. Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, crème fraîche, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and the remaining 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Add the chicken, celery, onion, chopped parsley and nuts. Stir to coat with the mayonnaise mixture.

Transfer the salad to a serving bowl or platter and garnish with the parsley sprigs. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch, by Georgeanne Brennan, Elinor Klivans, Jordan Mackay and Charles Pierce (Oxmoor House, 2007).