When living in South Carolina, I became rather a connoisseur of a unique brand of church potluck food. You’ve got pimento cheese sandwiches that, in the words of another writer, have “an unnaturally fluorescent-orange coloring and slimy consistency.” These orange blobs are to be avoided at all costs. There’s also a wonderful assortment of pasta salads, potato salads, and other dishes that are full of fattening ingredients like mayonnaise and cool whip–however, since little kids can’t keep their fingers out of the giant bowls, you must not eat from this bounty. And, while someone’s sweet-as-tea grandmother might have made that chicken, she probably didn’t store it properly before the potluck, so if you eat it, you’ll die of salmonella poisoning.
Thus, the best part of these potlucks are chicken salad sandwiches. In true Southern fashion, these sandwiches should be made on white bread, should have the crusts cut off, and should NOT have lettuce. These kinds of sandwiches are delicious.
And, as I’ve learned, chicken salad doesn’t have to be limited to a cholesterol-spiking sandwich. You can use less mayo, more spices, more veggies, and more whole wheat bread to create a wonderful, healthy alternative to the potluck style treat. This weekend, I decided to make a Thai-inspired chicken salad that I’ve now put on a wrap and on a sandwich. Don’t tell the Southern belles that I’m deviating from the original.
Thai Chicken Salad
1 leftover chicken breast, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2.5 Tbs. peanut butter
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1.5 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1.5 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 medium bell pepper, seeded and diced fine
1/4 cup chopped scallions (white and green parts)
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
In a medium bowl, mix together all wet ingredients, then add chicken and toss to coat. Fold in bell pepper and scallions until well-combined. Season to taste with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.