Recipe 30 from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman
Let’s start off by saying this is not a good representation of Deb’s recipe. I failed tragically and what you see here is a fancy chicken salad sandwich…not toast. My husband oohed and ahhhed over it but it really is just a salvage of the ingredients that happened to taste good. Haha.
Things did not come together for the mayo/aioli
My hard boiled eggs (I’m blaming my oven) did not set up so the yolks were still runny.
I wish I would have read through the whole recipe before getting started because I don’t think I realized how technical making aioli from scratch can be. I jumped in thinking it was just mixing things together but came to a crashing halt when she used the word “emulsify.”
I had no idea what she was explaining and had to pause to ask Google and figure it out in the middle of making it which means I wasn’t stirring it like I was supposed to. It pretty much missed all the timing cues she gave because I didn’t know what to do. I should have gone online to figure out what the timing was for stirring before I started because her instructions said to stir until the mixture was emulsified and I didn’t even know how long that would take and what that would look like. So, it was all guessing.
She gives great instructions for doing hard boiled eggs because I have successfully made some for one of the salads but this day it didn’t go super well. I probably could have salvaged some of the eggs, but my husband tossed them after eating the whites and I decided I didn’t want to try again because I don’t really like them anyways!
Side bar, then back to my mistakes… this little tool is something I picked up from the Farmer’s Market near me a few weeks ago. I decided I would use this to grind down my garlic instead of mincing it to get the yummy garlic flavor. It’s the safest little grater to use because it won’t mess up your fingers and you can grind the garlic, ginger, turmeric, etc. down to the nub without cutting yourself. And you end up with a delicious grated garlic with all the flavor condensed in it. I’ve used this for every recipe that calls for minced garlic and there’s no turning back. I love this little guy.
It comes with a brush to sweep up all your grated paste and get it in your dish. This is my new favorite kitchen tool!
Okay, back to my disasters. So, eggs…bad. Aioli…also bad. It just didn’t come together. I even tried using the blender with the instructions she gave for doing it that way. And it just didn’t do anything.
My solution, so as not to waste all the work I had done, was to get some actual mayo and add my lemon aioli mush mix to the actual mayo to make a faux lemon aioli and keep the dish afloat. It actually was a good improvisation! The dish could have been more complete if I had the eggs to add in because that mayo turned out so much better then I was expecting.
Last note…for your chicken,I would just bake it. She gives instructions for boiling it and that just sounds terrible to me. So, I baked my chicken breast for 20-30 min at 375 degrees. You can season it however you want but it at least has flavor. She gives you all the instructions you need if you choose to boil it though.
Mistakes and all, this was actually the best chicken salad I’ve ever made, though hardly a replication of Debs recipe. Sorry for that but I am feeling grateful for a successful outcome dispite all that went wrong!
I still say give this one a try and know that you can still make some modifications for a redemptive dish if you mess up like I did. You’re welcome :)
Happy sandwich making! You can find the recipe at the Smells Like Home Blog and of course in Deb’s cookbook, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook!