Fall Chicken Salad Tartines

Autumn, Savory Recipes • 12 Oct 2012

One of my favorite childhood dishes is sweet, tangy and savory chicken salad tartines.  We probably called them open-faced sandwiches, relishing the hearty textures and balanced flavors of perfect chicken salad mounded atop a slice of freshly baked anadama bread. My mother’s always sung of spring; slightly spicy and sweet curry powder melding with sticky, sugary fruit preserves like apricot or peach.

I, too, love the combination of curry and preserves. Jam adds moisture, creating a wonderful tenderness. Sweet, chewy dried cranberries and tart, crispy apples counter the sweetness of the jam. The chicken soaks up the flavors and begs for lemon, the perfect acid to brighten the salad.

While we always grew up eating chicken salad on a piece of soft, doughy bread with a crispy piece of lettuce for texture, I prefer to replace the greens with a few sage leaves draped across the finished tartine. Sage elevates the rustic salad.  Served on crunchy toasted semolina raisin bread, it becomes the perfect fall lunch.

Our family’s treasured recipes flow like life.  With each generation comes the desire to mold and alter, even if it is just a simple addition or subtraction of one ingredient. Each new generation has different needs, different available ingredients and different taste buds. We forge ahead with a vast kinetic energy. We age. Our skin, so nicely taut, molded against our young bones, alters and stretches with time.  Limbs fall from trees, changing their innate shape and form.  Recipes breathe life. With life comes change. Hopefully my changes to your salad are warm, welcome ones, Mom.

Fall Chicken Salad Tartines

3 chicken breasts (roasted or poached), diced into 1/2-inch cubes- should yield 2 1/2 cups diced chicken
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoons apricot or peach preserves
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
3/4 cup finely diced apples, preferably McIntosh or Granny Smith
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
4-6 pieces thick toast
6-12 sage leaves, washed and dried

1. Add chicken to a large bowl and mix with olive oil, mayonnaise, curry powder and peach preserves until well combined. Make sure not to overwork the salad so the chicken doesn’t break up too much.

2. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving to allow the flavors to settle.

3.When ready to serve, place the bread slices under the broiler for a few minutes until slightly browned and crisp. Set aside to cool slightly. Scoop a generous portion of chicken salad onto a piece of toast and garnish with one to two sage leaves.

Yield: Serves 4-6.

2 Responses

  1. Jill

    Really enjoyed this post.  Thank you.

  2. Jess

    I am at work right now and hungry. Drooling over this.

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