All chicken salads are the same right? Wrong. There are so many ways to make it with so many flavor add-ins. And people in the South feel strongly about what they like and don’t like about their favorite chicken salad! All white meat versus a mixture? Chopped vs. shredded chicken? Celery or no celery? Grapes, nuts, or even pickles and boiled egg? That’s why restaurants like Chicken Salad Chick are so popular.
When I decided to work as a freelance food stylist, I also started a catering company called The Occasional Gourmet. The name came from the fact that I just wanted to cater occasionally. My husband, Scott, is a mortgage banker so I was always catering open houses for his real estate agents and bringing them goodies. I ended up catering business lunches and receptions in the Gardendale, AL area for 13 years! I authored my first cookbook October 2017 and now I am concentrating on my food blog and coordinating the Gardendale Magnolia Festival.
One of my most popular items on the catering menu was my Parmesan-Artichoke Chicken Salad. It is a combination of several recipes I’ve made over the years. I love celery, especially with a big ol’ scoop of peanut butter, but I am not a fan of celery in my chicken salad. I use rotisserie chicken, both white and dark meat for the best flavor. I buy my rotisserie chicken only at Sam’s Wholesale because I can get a whopping 5 cups of shredded chicken from one bird!
I shred my chicken with two forks. I might even throw it in the food processor and give it a few pulses if I want to serve chicken salad with crackers. This makes the chicken pieces smaller than chopping or shredding and clings to a cracker better like a spread-just don’t pulverize it or you have chicken dip!
Cut the larger pieces in half before shredding with two forks.
Green onions are one of my favorite ingredients in this chicken salad. It is perfect with the Parmesan cheese and artichokes but not everyone loves it so I would always ask my catering customers if they preferred their chicken salad with or without it.
How much mayonnaise to us is another personal preference. I use 1 cup mayonnaise because it is always just a little less creamy the next day and I always made it the day before when catering because the flavors blend and develop better overnight so I start with a little more on the front end. If you prefer it a little less creamy, start with 3/4 cup and add a little more as you stir, if you like.
Again, there are so many add-ins you can stir in the basic recipe of chicken, mayo, salt and pepper- pecans, almonds, apples, dried cranberries, raisins, capers, mustard, garlic, Vidalia onions, and even BBQ sauce!
Here’s my recipe for Parmesan-Artichoke Chicken Salad. Make it just like it is or add/omit the add-ins that suits you and make your own favorite chicken salad! Let me know how you like it or on my social media sites.
This was one of my most popular items on my catering menu when I owned my catering business called The Occasional Gourmet. The flavors blend and develop best when chilled a few hours or overnight.
- 1 large rotisserie chicken (4 cups chicken)
- 1 (14-oz) can quartered artichokes, drained and chopped
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions (about 2 green onions)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Remove all the skin and bones from the chicken and throw it away. (Secretly, I love the skin so I have to eat a few bites before tossing). Cut the larger pieces of chicken in half so when you shred it, it won't be long and stringy.
Place chicken on a cutting board and shred it by pulling the pieces apart with two forks. Place the shredded chicken in a large bowl. Add the artichokes, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. (If you prefer chicken salad on the less creamy side, hold out some of the mayonnaise and add a little at a time after thoroughly stirring.). Stir all ingredients well. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours for flavors to blend.
If you don't have time to remove the meat from the chicken while still warm, microwave it for 1 minute on HIGH. Rotisserie chicken is much easier to remove from the bones when it's warm.
I use gloves. Personally, I love to dive in and consider it a challenge to see just how much chicken I can pick from the bones, but I still use latex gloves so my hands are easily cleaned when I am finished.