I forgot all about this recipe until very recently. It’s nothing too exciting; in fact, it’s the perfect example of “you can’t go wrong with the classics” and “less is more”.
My love for chicken salad sandwiches started when I was in middle school–there was a small cafe that opened in my hometown within walking distance of campus. My friend Meghan actually worked there for a while, and we used to absolutely rave about their chicken salad, which were best when served on toasted bagels. The best part about the salad was that it was studded with pieces of tangy and sweet green apple.
I’ve adapted this recipe over the years, and yesterday’s version was by far the best. And that was a happy accident.
Fritz grilled some chicken for us yesterday, and we had three breasts all frozen together. I told him to defrost all three, grill one, and I’d use two of them the next day for chicken salad. He thought I meant he should grill all three of them, and when he coated them in a thin layer of BBQ sauce, I thought the resulting chicken salad might be a little too weird.
It was so good! The smoky BBQ sauce was only a pretty thin layer on the chicken, and it actually worked perfectly for this recipe–you could hardly taste it, but what you could was a perfect addition to the basic chicken salad taste.
Green Apple Chicken Salad Sandwiches (this makes enough for four hearty sandwiches, but you could easily multiply this recipe!)
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1-2 T of your favorite BBQ sauce (we used a mesquite flavor)
- 1/2 tart green apple (such as Granny Smith)
- 1/3-1/4 C mayonnaise
- salt and pepper to taste
It doesn’t take a genius to make most recipes–this one included.
Grill the chicken over high heat, coating once with a thin layer of BBQ sauce. If you a BBQ sauce lover, then you can add more, but I really would suggest going light. You want to taste the actual chicken in this salad.
Once it’s cooled (I usually use leftover chicken, so this is an even easier summer recipe), cut into small chunks–about 1/2″ big or a tad bit smaller. Dice the apple (I like the apple pieces to be about the same size as the chicken, but you can go smaller if you want less crunch and more homogeneity in every bite) and mix.
Stir in the mayonnaise, going a spoonful at a time. I normally hate mayonnaise, but this recipe really does it for me. As long as I wash my hands 100 times after eating it (is there anything worse than the smell of mayonnaise on your hands?). However, the last thing you want to do is add too much mayonnaise, ’cause you can’t take it back.
Season with salt and pepper–we actually didn’t have to add any to this particular recipe, but sometimes I add a generous sprinkle of black pepper and a small amount of salt; it does depend on how salty your mayonnaise is, though!
Serve on toasted sesame buns, or bagels, or even plain white bread.
To each his own, you know. Although I personally feel the bread needs to be toasted for appropriate enjoyment.
Fritz said this was the best version of this recipe I’ve made, and I credit the BBQ sauce incident. Well done, Fritz.
I also made this salad for some friends of ours lately, and they also liked it. It’s perfect for a hot summer day (hello heat wave this week!) when you can’t even contemplate turning on the oven, or if you have some leftover chicken you need to use up.
I also make a turkey/cranberry version after Thanksgiving. Instead of apples, sometimes I use green grapes. Try anything!
We served it with edamame. Isn’t it so fun to eat edamame out of the pods? Sometimes I buy it already shelled, and it’s just not as satisfying. Too bad, ’cause it’s more expensive in the pods.
We pick up our CSA box in a few hours! I can’t wait–looks like I can expect to see red boston lettuce, a lettuce mix, arugala, baby spinach, garlic scrapes, swiss chard, and red beets. Heavy on the lettuce, but that’s expected this early in the season, and perfect since I’ve been having a green monster every morning and going through spinach super fast!