The other day Mike and I went to Al Mubarakiya, the old market here in Kuwait (if you’re interested, you can check out my photos of the old market here on my Instagram feed), with no intention of buying anything. For him, we came home with four pounds of mixed nuts, one pound of salted pistachios, and two pounds of fresh-roasted Turkish-ground coffee (ok, really the coffee is for both of us); and for me, we grabbed two pounds of raw walnuts and one pound of unsweetened dried cranberries. The problem is, there is a shop there that has the most insanely fresh coffee, nuts, and all manner of things of that sort. You walk in and you want to spend all day just smelling the air and sampling everything.
But of course I don’t think the shop owner would appreciate either of those things…
So we usually get in (because we can’t just walk by), get our fill (of stuff we really don’t need but really can’t resist buying), and get out.
I was thinking about how to use my goodies, and the idea of chicken salad came to mind. It’s been way too long since I made a good chicken salad and I knew that had to be remedied. I decided there was no sense in re-inventing the wheel, so I took a peek at a quick Google search to see if there were any good-looking chicken salads of this sort hanging around the web. Turns out, there are.
When I saw that Deb from Smitten Kitchen had one, I didn’t even bother looking for inspiration from the other search results. Being the recipe goddess that she is, why would I need to look elsewhere?
Deb talks about how her Cranberry-Walnut Chicken Salad is her ideal chicken salad…sans things like curry or turmeric. As I was reading her post, I nodded along in agreement, because even though in general I’m not curry-averse (although admittedly, I much prefer garam masala spice mix over curry spice mix), there is absolutely no place for curry in any chicken salad of mine. Deb and I could totally be besties.
My recipe here was inspired by Deb’s recipe (who loosely adapted her recipe from Gourmet’s recipe for Chicken Salad with Grapes and Walnuts), but I made a few tweaks to suit my tastes and based on what I had on hand. It’s a lovely autumnal recipe that’s absolutely perfect on top of salad greens for lunch, or along with toast and tea for breakfast. Like Deb suggests, I’m planning on making it after Thanksgiving with leftover turkey and pecans instead of walnuts.
No pressure, but Deb, if you want to pop by, I promise I’ll have this salad ready.