Chicken Salad with Poppy Seed Mayonnaise is an unexpected delight — everybody is going to beg for the recipe for this fun twist on a lunchtime classic, and the mayo is made completely from scratch!
This Chicken Salad with Poppy Seed Mayonnaise will become your go-to recipe when you’ve got company coming and you want to impress with very little effort. I served it on top of lettuce —but it would also make a killer sandwich on some fabulous thick sliced bread. Why not spoon it into a scooped out tomato, or half an avocado, the possibilities are endless.
The poppy seed mayo is made entirely from scratch, and it’s another one of my 30-second dressings that I make quick and easy with my immersion blender and a mason jar. Two eggs, a cup of olive oil, a touch of lemon juice, mustard, and good dose of poppy seeds get blended up instantly into a creamy thick mayonnaise. This will be the star of all kinds of salads, (think baby shrimp!) sandwiches, and dressings, but I think it makes an especially luxurious chicken salad.
It’s no secret that I love poppy seeds. Poppy seeds are extremely nutritious (really!) and they’ve been used in cooking for thousands of years, all over the world. They have a crazy crunch, and they look beautiful, too.
TIP: The rumor is true — eating poppy seeds can create a false-positive drug test result, but poppy seeds in food will not get you high, the concentration of opiates in them is far, far, too low.
Your mayo will vary in taste according to the type of oil you use. I like the richness of an extra virgin olive oil, but you can use a lighter oil like safflower, canola, or even a nut oil like almond or walnut.
TIP: The mayo method should work with just one egg, so you can start with that. If your mixture doesn’t thicken, just add the second egg and re-blend, it will thicken up like magic.
Once you’ve got your mayo made, the chicken salad comes together quickly. I like freshly poached chicken, along with the inner ribs of celery, (don’t forget those leaves!) for flavor and crunch. I like red onion for its color and bite, and dried fruit for some sweetness, I used golden raisins and cranberries. And finally, toasted pecans.
TIP: I freshly poach boneless skinless breasts for chicken salad because I think the meat is super tender when it’s cooked that way. Cover the breasts in a few inches of cold water, and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer the chicken for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken and refrigerate until chilled. Then chop. You’ll get moist chicken that cuts in perfectly clean cubes.
- 2 large pasteurized eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup vegetable oil, any type you like
- 1 Tbsp mustard
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp poppy seeds
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, poached, cooled, and chopped.
- 1/3 cup chopped celery stalks, plus leaves
- 1/3 cup red onion, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup dried raisins, cranberries, or a combination
- 1/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped
- salt and fresh pepper to taste
- To make the mayo, put everything in the bottom of a wide mouthed mason jar or other similarly shaped jar, just wide enough to fit the blade of your immersion blender. Put the blender blade at the bottom of the jar and blend, moving the blade up and down gently until the mixture emulsifies. This should happen almost instantaneously. When the mayo is thick enough, give it a stir and taste to adjust the seasonings.
- Put all the chicken salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl and add enough mayo to coat but not drown the salad. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper. You will have mayo leftover, so store in the refrigerator and use within 10 days.
- Use pasteurized eggs for recipes that involve uncooked eggs. Pasteurized eggs are eggs that have been briefly heated to destroy any potential harmful bacteria. Find them next to the regular eggs in large supermarkets.
- Homemade mayo does not contain any preservatives, so use with 10 days.
- Almonds or walnuts can be used in place of the pecans, but be sure to toast them.