Whether you're in search of a hearty and filling lunch or don't want to let your leftover chicken go to waste, whipping up a batch of chicken salad is always a good idea. The key ingredients in most chicken salad recipes include cooked chicken breast and some kind of dressing, often mayonnaise. As tasty as these ingredients are together, they tend to become overly rich and just a bit dull without something to balance them out. To spare yourself a boring, one-note chicken salad, consider adding an acidic element to the mix.
Acidic ingredients like lemon juice and vinegar bring brightness to dishes that otherwise have very rich flavors. In general, brightness refers to a tart quality that can elevate flavors without altering them too much. Brightness is especially important to balance dishes that contain fatty ingredients, chicken salad included. There are many acidic ingredients you can use to amend rich, fatty dishes, so it helps to consider your options to ensure a masterful finished recipe.
What Type Of Acid Should You Use In Your Chicken Salad Recipe?
When it comes to acidic ingredients, citrus fruits are a go-to option. In this case, you can choose between lemon or lime juice, both of which make for tasty additions to chicken salad and other dishes. And while both citrus fruits have relatively similar flavor profiles, there's an important distinction to consider. Limes impart a sourness with a touch of bitterness, while lemons are sour but slightly sweet.
Vinegar is another good selection when aiming to brighten up chicken salad. Depending on which type you use, you can bring a range of complex flavors to your dish. For example, red wine vinegar offers tang along with a subtle smoky flavor. If you want something equally complex but with a touch of sweetness, apple cider vinegar is a good choice. You can even add pickle juice to a chicken salad to achieve the flavor-balancing act.
How To Enhance The Texture Of Chicken Salad
An acidic addition is key to balancing the flavor of chicken salad, but what about the texture? The toothsome chicken and fatty mayo are very satisfying, but the texture can also get a little yawn-worthy if that's all the recipe has to offer. That's why adding crunchy elements to a chicken salad will make for a more satisfying experience overall. Many recipes incorporate chopped crispy vegetables like celery. Along with its firm texture celery also adds a more complex flavor profile thanks to its subtle bitterness. Of course, that's not your only option.
Walnuts are another tasty selection when it comes to chicken salad. While firm and crunchy, walnuts also impart a tannic nuttiness that pairs well with the other ingredients. You can even toast the walnuts before adding them to the mix to intensify their crunchy texture and flavor. Follow these tips and you'll never suffer through bland chicken salad again.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.