Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Chicken Salad with an Umbrian White Wine

Momma loves summer, it is a time to relax even when preparing a meal. What to fix for a summer luncheon you might ask ?

Momma Explains: Summer should be easy, picnics and light fare are best in the summer heat. I love simple meals which deliver on fresh flavor made with fresh ingredients. Chicken salad is a great meal to serve to 2 people or 200 people. The secret lies in the cooking of the chicken and the use of exceptional breads. To make chicken salad you must first cook the chicken, in order to do this you should boil the chicken at a medium heat so it boils slowly. Ripping the heat up to high and boiling the chicken in a wild bubble bath results in tough chicken. Use fresh breasts with bone and skins intact and cook in a lightly salted water bath. It should not take more than about 45 minutes. Temperature of the internal breast is about 175-180 F.
As for exceptional breads, unless you make your own, your best bet is to find a great bread bakery. Once you have a reliable source, buy your bread the day you need to use it. I love crusty breads and they are the secret to a delicious sandwich. Pre-packaged rolls are a detraction to a good sandwich. You are taking the time to prepare a meal, go buy fresh rolls or breads.

Momma's Chicken Salad : After boiling the chicken breasts, remove from water and let cool , you should remove the meat from the bones and discard the bones and skin. You may keep the water as it is a very light broth and could be used in gravies for another chicken dish. Chop or shred the meat and place in a bowl, lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss. In another bowl you will be adding the extras. You can use all of them or some of them depending on your preferences. I like a chicken salad with lots of extras but you choose. Chop celery and add to bowl, add green and red grapes as long as they are sweet, some craisins and chopped walnuts or almonds. Then combine the bowls. In the empty bowl, mix mayonnaise and Poppy seed dressing. ( I use Briannas) . You will need to decide how sweet you want the dressing, the amount of Poppy seed dressing will determine the sweetness. Whisk mayo and dressing together and add to chicken and extras . Toss well and chill. Slice your rolls shortly before serving. Complete the meal with a lovely white wine from Umbria, the acidity in the wine is a good foil for the sweetness of the dressing. I really like 2007 Campogrande, Orvieto Classico. Enjoy a light but great sandwich with your wine and remember to prop your feet up and sit outside to really dine "Alfresco"

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