Despite all of the years I tried to deny it, I am a woman of the South. And any woman of origin in the southeastern United States worth her salt has a recipe for chicken salad in her entertaining repertoire. I am no exception.
Aside from my love of a well-crafted chicken salad for its taste and rich textural qualities, I also love it for its practicality. It is the perfect make-ahead lunch for a day out on the boat, or a lunch break in the middle of a busy day. It can be kept in the cooler – or in the fridge – and once assembled requires little fuss to be enjoyed.
My affinity for curry chicken salad, however, stems from my time spent fresh out of college as a studio intern for famed American painter, David Salle, at his studio in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, in New York. As you can probably imagine, my position as his intern was not a high-paying gig; however, his team was kind enough to pay me a per diem of $20 per day each time I took the L train from Williamsburg to support his staff when I wasn’t going on gallery job interviews. Being new to “The City” and the foodie that I am, I soon discovered a fantastic artisanal food shop down the street from the studio, called the Green Grape, that always had the most delicious curry chicken salad displayed in the cold food case. Tasting it for the first time provided a memorable fusion of my southern heritage with my big city ambitions. From then on I happily spent more than I should have of my $20 per diem on lunch from the Green Grape.
For my own version of this recipe, I add a splash of pickle juice to help lighten up the thick mayonnaise and add a generous scoop of Georgia Gold™ turmeric powder to enhance the curry flavor and infuse the mixture with the powder’s healing qualities. I also love to spice it up with a drizzle or two of siracha. Assemble this salad when you have some entertaining to do, or the next time you’re headed out for a day-long excursion in nature. Chicken salad always travels well, no matter where you’re headed.
Curried Turmeric Chicken Salad
Serves two very hungry people, or four moderately hungry individuals
1 whole rotisserie chicken, meat removed and shredded
1 cup Duke’s mayonnaise
¼ cup pickle juice (of your choice), or white wine vinegar (or to taste)
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp curry powder (or to taste)
1 tbsp Georgia Gold™ powder (fermented or not)
½ cup golden raisins
Drizzle of siracha, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Romaine leaves or collard leaves (serving suggestion)
Combine all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, and stir together using a fork. As you combine the mixture, the meat will begin to shred into smaller pieces and perfectly meld with the mayonnaise and spice mixture. If you can, allow it to hang out in your refrigerator for an hour or two to allow the flavors to marry and the raisins to plump. When you’re ready to dig in, scoop a generous serving onto a romaine or collard leaf, or use it as a dip for your favorite cracker or chip.