The chicken salad is famous at Duplin Winery's The Bistro restaurant in Rose Hill. It's everytihng good chicken salad should be: meaty, creamy, a wee bit sweet and seasoned with a little something extra that makes it like no other chicken salad.
Don't ask Chef Bert for the chicken salad recipe that The Bistro has been making since the restaurant opened 20 years ago. That formula is a guarded family secret passed down from Chef's mother. "I can't share that," Chef Bert said with a wink.
The family recipe did inspire a new chicken salad recipe Chef did reveal: Honey Mustard Chicken Salad.
A little bit of honey blended with Duplin Gourmet Muscadine Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce gives this new recipe a little bit of sweetness and tang. Everything else in this recipe is is classic eastern North Carolina chicken salad: celery, a hint of onion, a dash of sweet pickle relish and a couple hard-boiled eggs. Make it your own, Chef Bert said, by adding toasted pecans, fresh seedless grapes, dried cranberries or anything else to put your signature on the basic recipe.
No matter how you alter the recipe, follow Chef Bert's perfect chicken salad tips:
- Roast rather than boil chicken for the most flavor.
- Use plenty of mayonnaise to make a rich chicken salad.
- Finely dice celery and onions added to chicken salad so that the salad holds together in a sandwich and stay put on a fork.
- Cut chicken into medium dice for chicken salads served over greens. Shred chicken or cut into small dice for sandwiches.
- Blend dressing ingredients separately and then gently fold into other ingredients so that everything is coated but not mashed.