I have to admit, I'm not too familiar with the quintessential "chicken salad". I may or may not have had chicken salad at some point in my life, but if so, it never made an impression on me. It certainly wasn't anything I thought about making myself! That is, until a number of months ago when I was browsing a really beautiful food blog, What Katie Ate, and came across her recipe for chicken salad. It sounded so tasty that I made it almost immediately after reading the recipe - and it was just as good as it sounded. Over time I've tweaked and prodded at the recipe, and this is my final draft - without knowing the ins and outs of your traditional deli-style chicken salad, I still think I can say with certainty that this is damn good chicken salad. If you have a secret ingredient that goes into your batch though, do share! There's always room for further perfection.
Chicken Salad Wraps
No. of servings vary - I usually get one big wrap's worth plus another sandwich/half sandwich out of this recipe
*1 chicken breast, butterflied or cut into a few strips
*1 tablespoon black peppercorns
*1/2 stalk celery, very finely sliced
*1 heaping tablespoon golden raisins
*1/4 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
*Leaves from one branch of tarragon, roughly chopped
*1 1/2 teaspoons cream cheese
*2 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise
*A couple passes over the microplane with a hunk of good Parm-Reg
*1 wrap skin or large tortilla, OR a couple slices of your preferred bread.
Fill a wide pan with a couple inches of water, enough to cover your chicken breast. Add the peppercorns and a sprinkle of salt along with the juice of half a lemon, and then cut the spent lemon half into a few pieces and throw them in too. Bring to a boil and continue boiling rapidly for a few minutes before adding the chicken. Turn the heat down to low, cover and poach the chicken for about 10 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove the chicken and shred when cool enough to touch.
Combine the celery, tarragon, raisins, toasted walnuts, mayonnaise, cream cheese, and chicken, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Grate in just a touch of Parm-Reg, stir, and then pop into a container and chill for a while. When ready to eat, assemble your wrap/sandwich, and enjoy!