When I planned the menu for last Wednesday’s catering job, I knew that I needed something “lunchy,” something that could be prepped ahead and assembled at the last minute, something cool for summer, and something spice-less for an older crowd. I went retro, a little, making what I think of as “ladies luncheon” sandwiches of tuna, chicken and egg salad on white sandwich bread lined with butter to keep them from getting soggy.
Having made that decision, I needed recipes. I make chicken salad that I love (she said, modestly), but it contains avocados, which not everyone loves as much as we do, so I decided to find something better. Ditto on the tuna salad; my dirty little secret is that I like tuna salad made with Miracle Whip and onions, but that was not up to the standards of elegance I had in mind. I had recently found an egg salad recipe to die for (in one of those mysteries-with-recipes that I read when I am not reading the complete works of Thomas Hardy) so I was okay on that front. To find chicken salad and tuna salad recipes in a reasonable amount of time) since I was billing by the hour) I turned to one of the most amazing resources available to me: allrecipes.com. I looked for recipes that had the highest user ratings based on many reviews, sorted through that group to weed out anything that didn’t fit my needs, and then used their quantity calculator to multiply the recipe so that I could make 30-some servings of each salad to add up to a total of 100 sandwiches. It worked like a charm.
I will admit that, in the case of the chicken and tuna salad recipes, I did not make a test batch. I usually do test recipes, particularly if they are intriguing, but I can’t get a good read on how the finished product will taste. (Or if they are complicated and multi-step and involve techniques I haven’t tried before). In this case, my excuse is that I have enough experience in the kitchen that I could easily imagine the finished product, there were no “controversial” techniques or ingredients, and each recipe had been tried and raved about by literally hundreds before me. Had I been preparing, say, an Eel and Michigan Cherry stir-fry, I would absolutely have tried it out first.
I will tell you that all three of these recipes are superlative. To die for. They are not particularly healthy, although they are really fine from the low-carb or diabetic point of view – have a sandwich on whole grain or Ezekiel Bread, or rolled up in lettuce leaves, and you’re fine. They are also a little fussy for daily cooking; I might make the chicken salad and omit the whipped cream, or skip the softened cream cheese in the egg salad. On the other hand, sometimes it is a really great thing to have something luscious and elegant in the refrigerator that is going to make you go into orbit at lunch.(In place of that sad little container of leftovers, or a carton of yogurt).
Please to enjoy:
Norman’s Egg Salad
(from The Cream Puff Murder by Joanne Fluke)
Makes 12 Sandwiches
4 cups peeled and chopped hard-boiled eggs (that’s about a dozen)
1/2 c. cooked, crumbled bacon or purchased pre-cooked and crumbled bacon
1 Tablespoon fresh, chopped parsley
1/4 cup grated carrot
4 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or minced, fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon onion powder or 1 teaspoon freshly minced onion
salt and pepper to taste
1. Peel and chop the eggs (not too fine; you want some texture), add the bacon, parsley and carrot and mix well.
2. Put the cream cheese in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds on “high” to soften it. When it’s easily stirred, add sour cream and mayonnaise, and mix well.
3. Stir garlic and onion into cream micture.
Add cream mixture to eggs, stir, and add salt and pepper to taste.; Chill until ready to serve.
Barbie’s Tuna Salad
Makes 4 Sandwiches
1 (7 ounce) can white tuna, drained and
6 tablespoons mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1/8 teaspoon dried minced onion flakes
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 pinch garlic powder
1. In a medium bowl, stir together the tuna, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, and onion flakes. Season with curry powder, parsley, dill and garlic powder. Mix well and serve with crackers or on a sandwich.
Creamy Chicken Salad
(adapted from allrecipes.com)
Makes 12 Sandwiches
|1.||Whip cream to soft peaks. Chop almonds in food processor. If desired, shred chicken or chop finely.|
|2.||In a large bowl combine the cream, almonds, chicken, mayonnaise, tarragon, salt and pepper. Mix well and serve.
*I poach chicken by placing it in a crock pot over a bed of carrots, celery and a halved onion, over “low” heat until tender and opaque, about 6 hours. You can also do this in a large pan on the stove top.