Adventures in Chicken Salad

Leading up to the Elections here in Tunisia we made sure that we stocked our pantry and freezer very well.  We weren't sure how people would respond to the results and we wanted to make sure that we had several days worth of food on hand in the event we weren't able to get out to the markets.  Now I'm trying to use up what we have on hand, today's theme was using up frozen chicken breasts.

Very exciting I know, I can sense that you are sitting on the edge of your seats.

Years ago (like in the late 90's to be precise) there was a very popular chicken salad recipe that added walnuts, grapes and poppy seeds to the usual chicken and mayo base. It was great, and a little Cha-Cha if you used it as a filling in a croissant for a sandwich.  The local grocer in our hometown made one with turkey and my oldest daughter still loves to buy small tubs of it when we are home in the summer.

I've stuck close to the spirit of the salad but I modeled this one after a lunch I had with a friend one summer in Michigan.  Instead of grapes I busted into my stash of dried Montmorency cherries, swapped pecans for the walnuts and added some flat leaf parsley and bits of red onion for bite.  To brighten the dressing I used half mayo and half creme fraiche and a little lemon juice.  Feel free to go a little crazy, dried cranberries, dried apricots, almonds, pistachios...

Chicken Salad with Dried Cherries and Pecans

2 cups cooked chicken chopped, about 3 chicken breasts or one whole small rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup chopped dried cherries
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 red onion minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise, or more to taste
1/2 cup creme fraiche, or more to taste
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

In a mixing bowl combine the chicken, pecans, cherries, parsley, and onion.  In a small bowl mix together the mayonnaise, creme fraiche and lemon juice.  Pour dressing over the chicken mixture and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Note: Feel free to use sour cream if creme fraiche is not readily available where you live. Add more mayonnaise or creme fraiche if you like your chicken salad a little creamier.


  1. I love this chicken salad, from Silver Palate, right? It reminds me of happy picnics at Hovander Park.

  2. I think it was from one of the Seattle Junior League cookbooks (probably adapted from Silver Palate though). Oh now I am missing my Silver Palate cookbooks......