Pass the Easy and Elegant Chicken Salad

The Kitchen couldn't leave mom out of our Rotisserie Chicken Club, so we're using this humble supermarket staple in our "Pass the Easy and Elegant Chicken Salad" recipe. The possibilities are endless, but we have the basics that make the perfect salad every time.

Episode: Toast to Mom
Our hosts assemble an easy and elegant chicken salad, as seen on Food Network's The Kitchen.

Our hosts assemble an easy and elegant chicken salad, as seen on Food Network's The Kitchen.

Photo by: David Katz

David Katz

First things first, the chicken. When you're using a store-bought rotisserie chicken, include both the light and dark meat. Using both adds the richness and flavor you want. Another great tip is to cut the meat into chunks. Doing this--instead of shredding the meat--makes a prettier presentation.

There are 4 basic categories to pull from to make a chicken salad perfect for mom's big day. Here's what we like:

First, you've got the "fruit": Try adding dried cranberries, dried cherries, blueberries, diced apples or sliced grapes to your chicken salad. We love fruit so much that we almost added them all for the perfect combination of sweet, tart and texture. The only one we didn't put in this one was blueberries, but you can make it your own.

Because chicken salad is typically mild, you'll want to add a little "bite": Adding veggies like celery, red onion, diced radish or chives give the salad the little punch that it needs to be amazing. This time we added red onions, chives and celery.

Don't forget the "crunch": That's where the nuts come in. Try adding walnuts, sliced almonds or chopped pistachios. Finish off your salad with a little "fresh" by adding parsley, tarragon or basil. The herbs will add the brightness that it needs.

Now that we've included all the elements, the salad is ready to be dressed and served. Since we have a lot going on in the flavor department, we like to keep the dressing simple. It's just 1 cup of mayonnaise and 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Combine in a bowl and toss with the other elements. You're ready to serve!

If you're expecting a crowd for Mother's Day brunch, we have a few terrific options for serving. For a cute little canape, cut English cucumbers into 1 1/2-inch coins. Use a melon baller or spoon to scoop out the seeds, making a little well in each. They are now ready to be filled. You could also serve this elegant chicken salad with cinnamon raisin toast points, radicchio cups or sliced mini croissants. We like to offer mom and brunch guests all the options on a platter surrounding a footed decorative bowl.

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