I remain fixated on chicken salads. I tend to make a lot of my old favorites and even made cranberry pecan turkey salad after Thanksgiving. In a way, this is a riff on my curried chicken salad that I’ve made several times lately.
Out of sheer laziness, I bloomed the spices in a little oil and vinegar in the microwave. Mix them in with a little store-bought mayonnaise for a faster and easier salad. Of course, there’s no reason to not make your own if you feel like it.
Island Chicken Salad
4 cups cubed cooked chicken
1/2 cup diced dried mango
1/2 cup diced dried pineapple
1/2 cup toasted unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup unsalted roasted macadamia nuts
1/4 cup Rajin Cajun spicy sweet jalapeno relish
1/2 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon jerk seasoning
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
juice from one lime
enough white vinegar to moisten spice mix and a teaspoon or so of oil
1 to 1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
For chicken salad, I usually poach my chicken by the America’s Test Kitchen method or use leftovers from a rotisserie chicken. Feel free to prepare it however you like.
Bloom the spices in a bit of vinegar, lime juice and oil. You can do it on the stovetop or in the microwave. Allow to cool before mixing in with store bought mayonnaise. It’s really a good idea to do this the day before so the spices have a chance to fully flavor the mayo.
I tried this two ways, with dried fruits and with canned fruits. You could use fresh or frozen, too. But I like the chewiness of the dried fruit. Be aware, however, that the dried fruit may soak up some of your mayonnaise so it’s a good idea to keep a little back and add it in before serving if needed.
I’m a big fan of Rajin Cajun sweet spicy jalapeno relish – used in moderation. It gave the salad the kick I wanted and a bit of vinegar bite to counter the sweet of the fruit. I also used leftover curried pickled onions the second time I made it, and I may make some with island spices the next time I make this salad – and I will make it again. It might be nice to change this up and use shrimp instead of, or in addition to, chicken.
Also, I used Edwards and Sons unsweetened toasted coconut flakes in this salad. You really don’t need the extra sweet of sweetened coconut flakes, but they’d do in a pinch. It’s fun that there is a wider variety of dried fruits and nuts and stuff these days.
You might want to wait to mix in the coconut and the macadamia nuts until ready to serve.
Okay…. enough notes. Instructions. Mix everything together, add mayonnaise. Stir. Allow to rest. Adjust the seasoning as you like. Serve.
I garnished it with a little extra dried fruit and nuts.