February is always hard for me here in the land of eternal grey. Writing is work. Cleaning is work. Cooking is work. In years past, I’ve been able to escape for a week or so to more southern and sunnier climes. This year, with the baby, I’m lucky to escape to the bathroom for a nice long soak (still a February goal). So, since I can’t fly away, I’m trying a trick from my poverty-stricken grad school days, and acting like it’s spring inside my house.
This week, we cranked up the heat a bit, I pulled out a “transitional” clothing items (aka not wool), and we dined on one of our favorite summer dishes: Rosemary Almond Chicken Salad.
I have been making this chicken salad every summer, many times a summer, for 20 years now. It was a popular one at the Christian retreat house on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where I volunteered as a wee young thing way back in 1998, and has been beloved by almost two decades of summer dinner guests and house guests ever since. Most of our regular summer visitors not only expect it now, but demand it (I’m talking about you Josh Schwartz and Tim Carpenter). And my husband says that if he could only eat one thing for the rest of his life (besides cake) this would be it. I’m pretty fond of it, too.
Rosemary Almond Chicken Salad (Serves 12)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Four pounds cooked chicken breast (boiled, baked, or grilled…I usually boil)
- Mayo, 30 ounces
- Craisins, 12 ounces
- Slivered Almonds, 12 ounces
- Fresh Rosemary, 4-6 large springs (about .25 cup)
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- Kosher Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Remove rosemary leaves from step and roughly chop
- Dice cooked chicken into small (much smaller than bite-sized) pieces
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, adding salt and pepper to taste
- Refrigerate until ready to serve
- Bread for sandwiches (or croissants)
- Mixed lettuce greens
- Fruit Salad
- Chips and dip