Retro Recipe California Chicken Salad

medtran49

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This recipe is from Chef Curtis Grace. He was a fairly well known Southern chef starting in the early 1970s, though he had opened his catering business in mid 1960s. I remember when he was just starting his catering business in the town I grew up in. My mother would go to his shop and pick up dishes to take to family gatherings and parties. His food was a highlight at any event and it always smelled so good when we'd go in the shop. I LOVED going there because she always got his take on an Italian Wedding cake. The link is not his recipe but it's pretty darn close. He bought and beautifully restored an old Victorian home to open his Ninth Street House restaurant. He also wrote several cookbooks, one of which was Victorian themed and decorated, and included pithy little quotes, one of which was about this salad.

``Little ladies can be rude and shove if we happen to run out of this at noon.''

It was a very popular menu item and you had to get to lunch early if you really wanted it, because if they ran out, they ran out. Chef Grace's iced tea recipe (and its base is Southern Sweet tea, be warned) goes perfectly with this salad.

I'm sure I have a photo of it, but it's been a very long time since we made this and the photo would have been moved to our cloud storage. I'll either look for it later or take 1 when we make it again, which will be soon as now that I've been reminded of it I'm craving it.

My dad bought the Victorian themed cookbook for me one time when DD and I were there visiting him and he took us to the Ninth Street House for lunch (which was ALWAYS a must do when we visited). DD has the book now. We share "custody" of it because we both want it. It's about time for me to have an extended visit with it.

1⁄2 cup butter
2 cups mayonnaise (homemade preferably or something like Hellman's that's close to homemade)
1⁄4 cup FINELY minced parsley
1⁄2 tsp curry powder
1⁄4 tsp FINELY minced garlic
1 pinch marjoram
salt and pepper
4 cups cooked (preferably roasted) chicken breasts (I use a mix with thighs), shredded
2 cups green seedless grapes, halved lengthwise (can use red seedless)
1⁄2 cup toasted slivered almonds (can use sliced almonds)

lettuce leaves for serving

Melt butter, cool to room temperature. Mix with mayo, then stir in parsley, curry powder, marjoram, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Gently fold in grapes, almonds, and chicken, reserving some of each for garnish. Serve over lettuce leaves.

NOTE: The dressing is best if made shortly before use. If you refrigerate, it tries to break on warming back up.
 
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Morning Glory

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It sounds lovely. If I can I'll try to make and photograph within the next few weeks. I can't eat mayo but I can enjoy making it for other people. It has a hint of Coronation Chicken about it - did you mention that elsewhere?
 

medtran49

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It sounds lovely. If I can I'll try to make and photograph within the next few weeks. I can't eat mayo but I can enjoy making it for other people. It has a hint of Coronation Chicken about it - did you mention that elsewhere?

Yes, that thread, and I don't remember which one, was what reminded me of it.
 

Morning Glory

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... my inclination is to not shred the chicken too much. I don't want to end up with a 'mush'.
 

Morning Glory

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Found this whilst searching it was on pinterest. No idea how authentic, of course!

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medtran49

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I will try to do mine tomorrow...

I've got to call my daughter so she can check the book. I may have made a typo in the amount of the curry powder when I typed up the recipe. It didn't taste quite right to me (seemed to need more).
 

Morning Glory

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I may have made a typo in the amount of the curry powder when I typed up the recipe. It didn't taste quite right to me (seemed to need more).

Its going to depend on the type of curry powder - I will make my own so it could be way stronger than your ready-made. But even ready-made is going to vary in strength across the world. Although I suppose, 1/2 a teaspoon sounds quite a small amount for the quantity of dressing, if its a mild curry powder.
 

Morning Glory

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It was lovely according to my partner - he said it was the best chicken salad he ever had! I scaled it down to using one small chicken breast. All measurements adjusted to fit except the curry powder - I used 1/2 teaspoon. Also I sprinkled a little cayenne on top - for colour as much as anything.

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