Monday, December 7, 2009

Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes

The idea behind this presentation is one that I took from Ms. Paula Deen. She produced a home-made chicken salad and served it inside some large homegrown tomatoes. I thought this was a wonderful idea and have even presented my own stuffed tomatoes to friends drizzled with a nice balsamic vinegar reduction. For this blog, I didn't want to get too fancy so I came up with a recipe that I think will please everyone. There is heated debate in the chicken salad world surrounding the use of mayonnaise. Some people like chicken salad drenched in mayo, others prefer an olive oil and mustard base. I came up with a fusion of the two in order to keep everyone happy.

"Dry Ingredients"
4 C. Chicken, oven roasted, diced
1 C. Red Bell Peppers, chopped
1 C. Corn
1/4 C. Red Onion, minced
4 Tomatoes

"Wet Ingredients"
6 fl. oz. Olive Oil
1/2 C. Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp. Parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. Mustard
2 Tbsp. Mayo
2 tsp. Pepper
1 tsp. Salt

* I love grapes in my chicken salad. If you think it's weird, you're welcome to leave them out.
** The spinach (or lettuce) will be used for garnish inside the rim of the tomato.

I like my chicken salad to be pretty smooth and wet, so I process the chicken in a food process until it is very fine. I pulse the "dry ingredients" together in the processor, adding the grapes as the final ingredient so they don't turn to mush. In a separate bowl, whisk together the "wet ingredients" to make the base of the salad. When the base is finished, add it to the dry ingredients and mix well either by hand or in the food processor.

So, essentially, this recipe is three steps. Make the dry ingredients, make the wet ingredients, then combine the dry and wet ingredients. Done!

For the presentation, cut the top of a tomato and, holding a knife vertically, cut an "X" in the tomato from top to bottom without piercing the skin. Next, cut around the edges of the tomato. At this point the tomato has been quartered only on the inside. You can now insert a spoon and carefully extract all the fruit in one fluid motion. This step is easy to do, but hard to describe so E-Mail me if you have questions, or just hollow out the tomato however you can. Now, place a piece of lettuce or a few leaves of spinach along the inside of the tomato and spoon in the chicken salad.

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