Lately I’ve been craving chicken salad at lunchtimeâwho knows why. Normally that would mean chopping up the odd and ends of a roast chicken from last night’s dinner, or if I was feeling more motivated, poaching some chicken breasts and then shredding them up. This was all fine and good but unfortunately cravings and ingredient availability don’t always go hand in hand. Until now… because lucky for me, my local mega-supermarket has begun selling organic rotisserie chickens (besides the zaftig Perdue beasts that used to be the only option). Is there a better cheat than a hot rotisserie chicken just waiting to be turned into innumerable dishes? I think not. If your market isn’t yet offering the organic kind, I recommend asking the manager–what do you have to lose?
I particularly love chopping up some of the warm chicken and tossing it with a combination of creme fraiche (or mayo), a big spoonful or whole grain mustard, perhaps some prepared horseradish, finely chopped tarragon and shallots, salt, and lots of freshly ground pepper to make my lunch salad.
I happened to be traveling past the main bakery for Balthazar Bakery, based in Englewood, NJ, last weekend, and picked up one of their hearty whole grain-rye loaves for just such a sandwich. If I’m using a thicker bread, perhaps toasted, then I prefer my chicken salad sandwiches open-faced, for the sandwich pictured above I did the following:
-Toasted the bread and then buttered one side of each slice.
-With a fork, smashed a half of ripe avocado on top of each buttered slice (normally half an avocado would do for 1 sandwich, particularly if you’re sharing, but these were small avocados). Sprinkled salt, pepper, and lime juice on top of the smashed avocado.
-Topped avocado with a heaping spoonful of the chicken salad. Add thinly sliced radish on top (because you need something crunchy to match the chicken and avocado) and season them with just a little salt and pepper.
-A side of cornichons is not mandatory but recommended.