Why Did the Chicken Salad Cross the Road?

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Because it was on a roll!  Hi, Katherine Curry here, torturing you with humor from my elementary-school-aged kids.  Chicken salad’s on my mind because when Liz asked Small Bites readers to submit your favorite spots for “best of” categories, it got me thinking about one of my all-time sandwich favorites.

A great chicken salad sandwich is not easy to find.  Now, I’m an old-school chicken salad kind of gal.  Some folks like their chicken salad all Waldorf-y with pecans or fruit.  That’s perfectly lovely if the chicken salad’s on a fancy plate, but I don’t want it between two slices of bread.  For a sandwich, give me deli-style chicken salad, with finely chopped white meat chicken, mayo, and some minced onion.

Villarina’s in Briarcliff makes my favorite chicken salad (sorry, Mom).  I don’t even bother getting chicken salad anywhere else. More after the jump.

This chicken salad has a healthy — or unhealthy, I guess — amount of mayo.  There are pieces of white onion so finely chopped that they’re almost invisible to the naked eye.  And some little bits of scallion — that’s what the green is, not parsley or tarragon.  And most important, the chicken is always tender, flavorful, and finely chopped (no big chunks, please!) — you can see there are just a few pieces  in there that are larger than 1/4 inch.

I like mine on wheat toast, with a little salt.  No pepper — I think the salad already has some white pepper in it.  And no lettuce or tomato, please — great chicken salad is a “salad” in the same way macaroni salad is a salad, as if mayonnaise were a magical, unctuous vegetable.

The friendly manager, Miguel Hidalgo, makes a nice sandwich.  Those are roasted red peppers he’s getting for me in the picture. He also smokes some excellent ribs, pulled pork, and barbecue chicken — and once, even a Thanksgiving turkey for me — but that’s a story for another day.

Villarina’s  Market, 1912 Pleasantville Rd., Briarcliff Manor.  914-762-9512

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2 Comments

  1. I’ve been calling the chicken salad at Central Market in Austin crack since long before Momofuku was making Crack Pie. But since I can’t fly to Austin to get my chicken salad, I like to get it where I also get my favorite bagels: Nyack Hot Bagels on 59. There’s a post around here somewhere. Mm mm mm.

  2. I really don’t like chicken salad… But, years ago I ate a chicken salad somewhere that used a hefty dab of a good quality honey mustard mixed in the mayo, & fresh roughly chopped roasted chicken. I urge you to give it a try. It’s the only way I’ll eat chicken salad.

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