curried chicken salad in the hamptons
As a kid of the 90s, I have very fond memories of watching cooking shows with my mom. These were the days before cooking-as-garish-entertainment became a thing, when we'd patiently watch in awe as Julia Child unveiled a spectacular holiday boeuf bourguignon or told us the secret to making an omelet, or when Ina and Martha got together in matching perfectly-pressed chambray and convinced us that yes, a kitchen clambake could be an oh-so-effortless thing.
This rather retro recipe was inspired by that era, when things like mango chutney and curry powder were still sort of considered "exotic." I imagine myself eating it at a seaside picnic in the Hamptons, clicking glasses with Martha, Ina, and Julia in our perfectly-pressed blouses, quietly chattering about wreath-making and what to cook Jeffrey for dinner. Just let me live in this delusion for awhile, will you?
• 3 cups cubed or shredded chicken (leftover rotisserie chicken works great!)
• 1 cup coarsely shredded carrots
• 3/4 cup shredded red cabbage
• 3/4 cup celery, diced very small
• 1/3 cup red onion, diced very small
• 1/3 cup toasted & salted cashews, coarsely chopped
• 1/3 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped (a kitchen shears works great for this!)
• 1/4 cup dried currents (or raisins)
• 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
• 1/3 cup good-quality mayonnaise
• 3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
• 1.5 tsp. curry powder
• 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1/2 cup chopped mango, fresh or frozen
• 2 hefty pinches red pepper flakes
In a large bowl, combine chicken, carrots, cabbage, celery, onion, cashews, apricots, currents, and cilantro.
Using an immersion blender (or regular blender), combine the remaining ingredients and blend until thick and smooth. Pour this dressing over the salad contents, and stir in with a large spoon or rubber spatula until everything is well dressed and evenly coated. Taste, and season with additional salt, pepper, or red pepper flakes to your liking, and serve in red cabbage cups if you're feeling fancy.
Makes about 4 cups of salad (3-4 servings), and keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days.