Grilled Chicken Salad with Sage, Almonds & Cranberries

Chicken Salad, Derrida Style

What is the perfect chicken salad? Philosophers and kings alike have dealt with this question since the accidental invention of mayonnaise in 400 B.C. in Alexandria, Egypt. Since that time, many variations have striven to attain the platonic form of chicken salad, each in their turn failing. Finally, in the year 2007, in Washington D.C., a chicken salad was ushered into the world. Some believe that it will change the entire concept of chicken salad as we know it, much like Stephen Hawking's research forced scientists to revisit Einstein's theory of relativity. Others believe, more modestly, that it will provide Kitchen Monkey at least two or three days' worth of delicious lunches.

I enjoyed it between slices of French bread, but it's also delicious in a croissant. You can find the recipe below the photo . . .

Chicken Salad

3 breasts chicken (preferably grilled or smoked, then cubed)
1/2 large onion (chopped)
2/3 cup slivered almonds (dry toasted in a pan on the stovetop until light brown)
6 leaves fresh sage (minced or chopped)
1 cup dried cranberries (you may call them craisins if you wish)
2/3 cup mayo

Simply mix everything together, using salt, pepper, and more or less mayo according to taste.



I know, I know, it has been forever since the last post. Kitchen Monkey has been supremely busy with this law school business. Happily, the second year is almost over, and I am happy to say that Kitchen Monkey has found a job for the summer which should last into the final year of school--at a great firm in northern Virginia that does immigration, family, probate, and other types of law. I have had a growing interest in immigration law for the past year, so this should be very exciting.

On to the food . . .

I learned to make ceviche while working at a sushi restaurant. With all that beautiful raw fish around, it would be absurd not to offer the customers this amazing dish, no matter that it finds its origin in Peru rather than Japan. Many of you know the deal: the seafood is "cooked" by lime and/or lemon juice. I have tried many many versions, and if you look across the web's foodysphere you'll find dozens of different and sometimes conflicting recommendations. My version combines the traditional Mexican variation with a bit of my old sushi boss's own innovations as well as my own. For this meal I had some pita bread on hand and decided to make pita chips (simply brush with olive oil and toast in the oven) and they went fantastically with the ceviche. This is a ceviche to write home about.


(serves 4-6)
1/2 lb. of shrimp
1/2 lb. bay scallops
1/2 lb. grouper (monkfish and tuna also work nicely)
1/2 lb. conch or octopus (you can leave this out if you can't find it at your seafood market)
5 limes
2 lemons
1 orange
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro (chopped)
1/2 large red onion (chopped)
1 large tomato (chopped)
1 avocado (cubed)
1 jalapeno (sliced)

(1) If you use shrimp, be sure to steam them first, otherwise they will turn into an unappealing mush. Octopus and conch also need to be steamed before marinating. They may already be cooked when you buy them. The grouper, monkfish, and scallops however will "cook" in the marinade. If you use large shrimp, cut them into pieces about the size of the bay scallops. The grouper or monkfish should also be cut into that size as well.
(2) Squeeze all the citrus into a large bowl, then add the rest of the ingredients and stir.
(3) Let it all soak for about an hour to an hour and a half. At this point I usually pour off the citrus mixture. Some prefer to marinade the fish for 24 hours, but I find that much of the great flavor of the fish is overpowered by the tanginess. Test the jalapeno for hotness. While I typically like hot foods, I like my ceviche with just a slight kick.

Serve in a large-mouthed wine class or small bowl, with pita chips! Amazing.