Friday, March 16, 2007

Spicy and Delicious

I came across a can of pickled jalapeños in my pantry that surely I bought for a reason, but I don't remember what exactly that reason is...of course it was for a recipe, but what recipe? (This getting older thing really stinks sometimes.) As I was browsing some old issues of Cook's Country the other night, I came across this recipe for Jalapeño Chicken Salad. It looked too good to pass up. Maybe this was the recipe for which I originally bought the pickled jalapenos??? Since I also had a lot of fresh cilantro and a half lime remaining from Wednesday night's appetizer-turned-dinner (see Salsa Guacamole recipe), it was a no-brainer to make it. I made it for dinner last night and ate it again for lunch today. It was delicious last night, but I thought it tasted even better this afternoon after sitting in the refrigerator overnight. This is the best chicken salad recipe I have made in a long time. Well, to be honest, the last time I made chicken salad was last summer, so suffice to say, this is the only chicken salad recipe I have made in a long time. It is easy to prepare and the pickled jalapeños add a nice kick of both heat and flavor. Even if you like your food on the seriously spicy side, I wouldn't use any more than the recipe suggests, though. If you like things more on the mild side, I would recommend using about half that amount (2 tablespoons). That would be enough to add flavor but not too much heat. If you're a real wussy, you could use even less or none at all. I think this would be a great basic chicken salad recipe without the jalapeños, too. Since I had a few flour tortillas sitting around from the chicken enchiladas recipe I decided not to make, I made a tortilla bowl, too. It's adds a nice presentation, and it's yummy to eat at the end of the meal after all of the chicken salad is gone.

Jalapeño Chicken Salad

Source: Adapted from Cook’s Country magazine, August/September 2005

2/3 cup light mayonnaise

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

3 cups shredded cooked chicken

1/2 medium celery rib, chopped fine

1/2 small red onion, chopped fine

1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped fine

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup sliced pickled jalapeños, chopped fine

Salt and pepper

Mix mayonnaise and lime juice in a small bowl until combined. Toss chicken, celery, onion, bell pepper, cilantro, and jalapeños in large bowl. Add mayonnaise mixture and toss until evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Note: To make tortilla bowl (see picture below), spray both sides of a large flour tortilla with nonstick cooking spray. Toast tortilla in nonstick skillet over medium heat until spotty brown on both sides but still soft, about 3-4 minutes. Using tongs, drape tortilla over small overturned bowl. Place second overturned bowl over tortilla and cool completely.

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