Saturday, October 16, 2010

Chicken Salad?

I love having leftover chicken around. Aside from the inevitable stock, the leftover flesh is wonderfully versatile.    There are a staggering amount of possibilities, none as simply satisfying as chicken salad.

I realize that I'm not saying anything profound here.  Chicken salad is certainly the most obvious thing one can make with leftover chicken. But, after the decadent meal the night before I didn't really feel like cooking anything for lunch on my day off.  It was the middle of the afternoon and the sun was peeking through the clouds here at Stermer vineyard.  A refreshing chicken salad sandwich and a glass of Riesling really hit the spot.

On a separate note, it looks like we'll be bringing fruit in today, the first of 2010.  The weather is holding out for us, and aside from the hordes of menacing birds causing vineyard managers all over the Willamette Valley to wake up in the middle of the night in cold sweats, we are all still apprehensively optimistic.

To the residents of this very beautiful valley who are not in the wine industry, I apologize on behalf of all of us that it sounds like World War III out there.  Between bird cannons, air rifles and even driving around vineyards honking car horns, we have got to do something to startle the birds to keep them from completely devastating the crops.  They're crafty little buggers.

To give you a bit of context, I have heard from several voices here, with 20 odd years experience in the vineyards of this region, that this is the worst the birds have been in recent memory.  One theory is that since the growing season was so miserable in general, there is a shortage of other food sources for the birds forcing their hand (wing?) to eat the grapes that we've been meticulously coddling throughout the year.  Or, since the rain storms hit Oregon in September, rather than mid-October, and many of the migratory patterns are tied to the storms, we now have a temporary increase in the bird population with all of our fruit still sitting out ready to be pecked.  It might even be a combination of those factors but, whatever the case, in honor of our pesky winged friends I present my chicken salad recipe.

Chicken Salad

One pound leftover chicken, shredded
One celery stalk diced
Two radishes diced
Two egg yolks
Juice of half a lime
Small bunch of cilantro
One jalapeno
One teaspoon fish sauce
Salt and pepper

First make the mayo.  Add the egg yolks, salt, pepper and lime juice to a bowl and incorporate all the ingredients.  Add the oil of choice in a steady stream whisking as you go until the oil is emulsified and the mayo thickens.  Combine the remaining ingredients and gently fold in mayo.  Chill the mixture while you're toasting your bread of choice.  Pile on your salad and any other fixings you might like and enjoy.

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