Thursday, March 26

Dad's Chicken and Potato Salad

If you've been keeping up with this blog at all, then you are aware of two things: chicken is on sale at the moment, and I have too much mayo in the fridge. "Self," I asked myself. "What can I do with a lot of chicken and a lot of mayo?"

The answer, of course, is to make that tasty deli standard, (insert stuff here) salad!

Today, the part of Stuff will be played by chicken and potatoes.

Whenever I make a creamy salad, be it potato, chicken, tuna, cactus, or Advil, I always start with my dad's basic recipe. It's a time-honored tradition, and it has stood the test of time for a good reason. It's delicious. It starts off with a 4:2:1:1 of mayo, relish, cider vinegar and mustard.

This, of course, is backed up by a diced red onion, salt, and pepper. Here's where I start deviating from my dad's recipe, though. I like a little zing in my salad, so I throw in a healthy amount of chipotle Tabasco backed up with a couple of spoonfuls of briny, punchy capers.

Now that we've got the dressing down, it's time we move on to the bulk of the salad. The potato is diced fine:

And then, for no other reason than I have a deep fryer and I can, deep fried. In your face, convention.

Mmm. Fried. It'll be the death of me someday.

Now, sometime in between chopping and frying the potatoes, I came to the realization that I had completely forgotten the celery. I wasn't surprised, mind you - I have a tendency to forget vital ingredients when I'm cooking. I've made a mac and cheese without the cheese. Lucky for me, salads like this are forgiving when it comes to timing.

As for the chicken, I can't leave well enough alone there, either. Last weekend, my roommate's friend brought by an inordinate amount of what we now affectionately call Clamweiser. Yes, that's beer and Clamato in one can. So thoughtful of Anheuser-Busch to combine them for us so that we, the consumers, would not have to think to put them together. Because those there are two great tastes that taste great together.

We sure as hell aren't going to drink it, so I might as well poach the chicken in it.

Anything after that is somewhat less than exciting. Once all the ingredients were cooked, cut up (the chicken turns pink, but I was so overjoyed that it had finally finished cooking that I forgot to take a picture), and folded together with a mess of fresh-chopped parsley, they came together in a tasty amalgam that looked a lot like this.

Actually, it looked exactly like that. Into the fridge for an hour or two for the flavors to really meld, and we are hot to trot.

For the record, poaching the chicken in Clamweiser didn't really do anything for the taste. But it was a good excuse to get rid of a can of that putrid stuff. As for frying the potatoes, it added a wonderful crunch to the salad back before it went into the fridge, but afterwards, there was little textural difference between them and boiled potatoes. Neat side effect, though - they don't fall apart and turn into mush like boiled potatoes do in this sort of recipe.

Well, this should feed me for at least four or five days. Time to get some bread and make some sammiches. Onward!

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