Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Crunchy Apple Chicken Salad

I admit freely that I am loud apple-eater.

I like to think of it as really showing my appreciation for this beautiful and tasty fruit.  I take big bites and I relish every crunch.  

These Pink Ladies are the perfect blend of sweet and tarty.
What’s not to love about apples? They’re colourful, compact, extremely portable and completely edible, especially for those weird people who actually eat the cores. Plus they even sound delicious; one of the most satisfying sounds is the loud crunch of biting into a cold, crisp, sweet apple.


I snack on an apple almost every day and it’s nice to know I can at least cross off one serving of fruit from the list. I’m a fan of nearly every kind, though I find some kinds like MacIntosh and Spartan taste the best in the fall - much fresher and crunchier.  Lately, I prefer ones with a bit more tart; snacking on one feels more like a treat. Granny Smith apples are often the go-to apple to cut into super thin slices and include in sandwiches for this very reason. Their tartness pairs nicely with sharp cheeses and mellow meats, such as turkey or chicken. I had some leftover chicken breasts and plenty of apples, so I went about making a kind of sandwich I’ve enjoyed but never made myself: chicken salad.

As with any kind of salad-sandwich, there are so many different options! The more I read, the more I felt inspired to pull from whatever I had available for a basic dressing and go from there. This Crunchy Apple Chicken Salad sandwich uses a simple mayo/mustard dressing and my current favorite apple, the Pink Lady, which was more than up to the task of bringing the sweetness and crunch to this sandwich.
Chicken, apples and lettuce ready for tossing.

You will need:

Sandwich bread, like Rye or a coarse Multi-Grain
1-2 Pink Lady Apples, washed, cored and diced
2 cooked chicken breasts, cubed
1-2 handfuls of lettuce (I used a combination of romaine and mixed greens)
1 ½ Tbs mayo
1 ½ grainy Dijon mustard (or more if you want it spicier)
¼ tsp milk
1 handful of grated sharp cheddar
Fresh ground pepper

Toss with the dressing and sprinkle with cheddar.

1-Combine the lettuce, diced apples and chicken together.
2-In a small bowl, mix the mayo and mustard together.
3-Thin the mixture with a drop of milk and mix to taste.
4-Toss the dressing with the salad until coated.
6-Top with fresh ground pepper and grated cheddar and toss again.
5-Carefully spoon out portions of the salad onto the sandwich bread.
6-Slice and serve.

This sandwich is a light change from the delicious richness of last month’s grilled cheeses and one of the quickest sandwiches I’ve made so far - under ten minutes to prep. The Mayo/Dijon dressing adds a pop of spiciness and let's face it, I would use Dijon on almost every sandwich I make, I love it so.  For even more flavor in the future, I suggest marinating the chicken in a mustard sauce before grilling. I also recommend tossing in some dried cranberries or raisins for another sweet flavor that would pair nicely with the apples. Really, think ‘salad additions’ and you’ll be set to toss this chicken salad up just the way YOU like it.

For a simple sandwich that’s crisp and sweet, like a leafy spring day itself, it’s hard to go wrong with a simple dressing, some leafy greens, some chicken chunks and apples.

This sandwich sounds tasty too.
The crunchier, the louder, the better. 

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