Chicken salad has a long history at Shopsin’s. It’s been made in a number of different ways, none of which I totally remember–though I do remember that originally I made chicken salad with turkey. Don’t ask me why I didn’t use chicken for the chicken salad because I really don’t know. Probably it’s because I was a grocery store, so I didn’t have cooked chickens, but I did have the cooked turkey breasts that we used for making sandwiches.
People immediately got stuck on my chicken salad. I served it on bread sharp enough to cut your gums, from Zito’s, a place that used to be around the corner on Bleecker Street. My regular customers would come in and start to order something different, and then they would change their mind and say, “No. I think I’ll have the chicken salad.” Bob Dylan, who lived in the neighborhood, was hooked on it for years.
Total Timeunder 15 minutes
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationmain course
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and Texturesavory
- 5 ounces cooked turkey or chicken, cut into 1-inch chunks
- Salt and pepper
Put the turkey or chicken chunks in a bowl and massage the chunks between your thumb and first three fingers until they are frayed on the edges and semisoft in the center. Once you have the proper texture, start adding mayonnaise. Because breast meat has a dry texture, it will absorb the oil from the mayonnaise, so what’s left on the outside will be the white, creamy, tasty part of the mayonnaise. As for how much mayonnaise you add, it’s a feel thing. It’s like making risotto where you add broth a little at a time until the rice is cooked. Add the mayonnaise a little at a time, and as soon as the molecules of the meat have been filled and the mayonnaise has nowhere else to go, stop. You can then season the salad with salt and pepper if you like. I don’t.
2008 Kenny Shopsin