Don’t kid yourself — this recipe is a love letter to mayonnaise, which is funny, because we don’t tend to eat a lot of that ’round here. On sandwiches, we both prefer mustard. And in dips, sour cream is king.
But I was feeling nostalgic the other week, and I remembered the incredible chicken salad they make at The Gourmet Shop, a little hole-in-the-wall cafe/shop/liquor store in Columbia, S.C. It is the only thing I miss about living there.
Anyway, I used to work at said Gourmet Shop and people would come from miles around just to purchase their fantastic chicken salad. My friend and I would buy it by the pound, slather it on fresh French bread and nurse our hangovers from the night before. But I’ve said too much.
What made the Gourmet Shop’s chicken salad so good wasn’t that it was loaded with tarragon or had any weird ingredients (like, God forbid, grapes). It was just perfectly moist chicken, poppy seeds, salt, pepper and Duke’s mayonnaise.
But alas, it is very hard to find Duke’s mayonnaise up North. So we just made some!
It was stupid easy.
First, get out your trusty food processor. Trust me — your hand will fall off if you try to make this by whisking.
To start, dump in:
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp. salt (trust me on this)
- 1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
- splash of Tabasco sauce
- splash of Worcestershire sauce
- pinch of freshly ground pepper
- 1 large egg
Now then, put the lid on and whir it around until everything is well incorporated and the mixture is a nice yellow color (about 30 seconds).
Then, for the hard part: with the food processor running, slowly pour in 1 and 1/4 cups vegetable oil. You want to add it in a nice, slow, steady stream.
This should take about one minute. In the end, you should have a fully incorporated, thick, fluffy pile of mayo.
But of course, chicken is supposedly the star of chicken salad. We just went ahead and shredded what was leftover from our Crock Pot Chicken, about three cups or so.
Then we sprinkled the chicken with poppy seeds — about 2 Tbsps., I’d say, but just eyeball it. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Then, add the mayo. There’s no such thing as too much. Mix it up and top with more poppy seeds.
Serving suggestions: make like The Gourmet Shop and serve this salad stuffed in a nice, juicy, ripe tomato. Or serve on French bread or a croissant. It’s hard to go wrong.