Delta-Style Chicken Salad with Peach Mayo and Spiced Pecans
This recipe, which I halved from the original, pays homage to the flavors of the Mississippi Delta with dried peaches and chopped spiced pecans.
Fresh peaches can't be found this time of year, so I substituted frozen fruit. I served the salad on crusty ciabatta, but you also could scoop it onto butter lettuce cups. If you want to get really fancy, spoon it into split croissants.
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup peach puree (from one or two peaches)
1 1/4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
4 cups shredded poached chicken breast or rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup diced dried peaches or apricots
1/2 cup Spiced Pecans (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon minced parsley
Salt and black pepper
In a medium bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and peach puree. Stir in honey, sugar, mustard and garlic.
In a large bowl, stir together chicken, onion, dried peaches and pecans. Stir in the mayonnaise mixture. Fold in the parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill before serving.
Serves 5 to 6.
-- Adapted from "Eat Drink Delta" by Susan Puckett (University of Georgia Press, January 2013, $24.95)
Also dangerously good for snacking!
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon each garlic salt, onion powder, ground cumin and curry powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1 pound pecan halves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In small bowl, stir together all ingredients except butter and pecans. Put butter on a rimmed baking sheet and place in oven until melted. Remove pan from oven. Pour pecans onto the pan and sprinkle with spice mix; toss to coat. Spread nuts in a single layer and bake until nuts are fragrant, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze for longer storage.
Makes 1 pound.
Gretchen McKay: email@example.com, 412-263-1419 or on Twitter @gtmckay.