A Salad That Marries Two Seasons
In September, summer and fall meet. As the two seasons flow, or see-saw, from one to the next, farmers markets and supermarkets, with their increasing offerings of local produce, still feature luscious plums while, at the same time, the new apple crop is accelerating into high gear.
In the garden, cooler weather, or so we hope, has brought back sweet-tasting lettuces, leafy spinach and other greens that shun summer’s full-on heat. Vegetables perfect for making summery Mediterranean meals remain abundant. Tomatoes, and sweet peppers ready for roasting and stuffing, are at their best. This surplus of summer with fall’s bounty inspires me to see how time-sharing can work on my plate.
September is still prime time for serving a salad as a one-dish meal. With this in mind, I created this supper – and super – chicken salad combining summery nectarines and plums with autumnal apples and grapes. Its dressing also mixes the cool of yogurt with the cozier creaminess of mayonnaise. Golden curry in the dressing helps marry together the flavors of the summer fruits, chicken and scallions, while its color and warmth add a September glow.
Curried Chicken Salad
– Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 250 calories, 8 g total fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 17 g carbohydrate, 25 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber, 450 mg sodium.
- 1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt
- 3 Tbsp. low-fat mayonnaise
- 1 tsp. mild curry powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- Ground pepper to taste
- 1 large nectarine
- 1 large plum or pluot, preferably red-fleshed
- 3 cups diced roasted chicken breast (about 1 lb. raw)
- 2/3 cup seedless green grapes (about 12), halved lengthwise
- ½ medium Fuji apple, cored and diced
- 2/3 cup finely chopped red onion
- Red leaf or romaine lettuce leaves, optional
- 2 Tbsp. roasted sliced almonds
- 2 Tbsp. chopped scallion, green part only
In small bowl, whisk together yogurt and mayonnaise until smooth. Mix in curry powder and salt, then lemon juice. Season dressing to taste with pepper. The dressing can be made up to 4 hours ahead and refrigerated, tightly covered.
Holding nectarine in one hand, use small knife to make 8 vertical cuts and release the flesh in crescents. Cut each crescent lengthwise into 2 or 3 slices, then cut slices crosswise and place in mixing bowl. Using the same technique, quarter and cut up plum and add to nectarine. Add chicken, grapes, apple and onion, then toss to combine. Add dressing to chicken and fruit, and toss to coat salad well.
Transfer salad to serving platter, lined with lettuce leaves, if desired. Sprinkle on almonds and scallions, and serve immediately. The dressed salad holds for up to 1 hour, tightly covered in refrigerator. After that, the fruits’ juices dilute the dressing.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) Aicr.org