Get our newsletters

Dining In — Recipe of the Week: Summertime and we reach for salads

When the weather turns hot we head for the grill to avoid cooking indoors. But we also pull out our jar of mayonnaise and repertoire of entree-worthy salads to help beat the heat.
Chicken, lobster, turkey, tuna, shrimp, ham, lamb, pork and beef all can be shredded and combined with mayonnaise, seasonings and vegetables to make a satisfying entrée.
When we make a poultry, seafood or meat-based salad we are following an American tradition that goes back hundreds of years. European settlers (especially Germans) brought the concept of minced cooked meat and mayonnaise-style salads to America dating back to Colonial times.
A thrifty way of using up leftovers, meat and poultry salads also were made from scratch according to the earliest cookbooks. Tuna salad, which is a 20th-century creation, follows in the tradition of those early meat salads.
Of course cooked meats, seafood and poultry also can be added to chef’s salads for a hearty and filling entrée. But you can’t beat a scoop of chicken, shrimp or tuna salad on a tomato that has been cored and split into eighths.
It’s easy enough to cook twice as much meat or poultry as you need for dinner, then refrigerate the extras to make into a salad the next day. To avoid any cooking at all, buy a rotisserie chicken or use canned tuna.
Here is a different take on chicken salad from
Chicken Salad with Applesand Cranberries
3 cups chicken (cooked, diced)
olive oil (as needed, for cooking)
¼ cup walnuts (chopped, or slivered almonds or pecans, toasted), optional
¼ cup dried cranberries
½ cup celery (diced)
2 to 3 tablespoons red onion (finely chopped)
½ cup apple (diced)
4 to 6 tablespoons mayonnaise (or to taste)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon curry powder (or to taste), optional
¼ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Lettuce leaves
Good-quality bread or sandwich buns (sliced), optional
1. Cook the chicken: Pound 3 or 4 chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap to an even thickness.
2. Place a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken breasts to the hot skillet and cook them for about 6 minutes, or until browned.
3. Flip and continue cooking for about 5 minutes longer, or until thoroughly cooked. Avoid overcooking. The minimum safe temperature for chicken is 165°F.
4. Toast the nuts: Put ¼ cup of chopped walnuts, slivered almonds, or pecans in a dry skillet. Place the skillet over medium heat and cook, shaking the skillet and stirring and turning the nuts constantly, until they are lightly browned and aromatic. This should take about 3 to 4 minutes. Pour the toasted nuts out onto a plate immediately to stop the cooking process.
5. Make the chicken salad: In a bowl, combine the diced, cooked chicken, cranberries, celery, onion, apple, and walnuts, if using.
6. In a cup or small bowl, combine 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise, the lemon juice, curry powder, if using, salt, and pepper. Stir the mayonnaise mixture into the chicken, adding more mayonnaise as needed for moisture and for flavor.