Thursday, February 28, 2008

Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches with Smoked Almonds (Page 179)

  • Date: Saturday, February 23, 2008 -- 2pm
  • Location: Menlo Park, CA
  • Kitchen: Emilee and Brian's Apartment
  • Fellow Chefs: Rachel and Emilee
  • Dining Companions: Brian, Helen W, Alison, Anh, and many other baby shower guests!
  • Recipe Rating: A

I love chicken salad. Emilee loves chicken salad. Everyone loves chicken salad. So I figured these chicken salad tea sandwiches would be a delicious addition to our baby shower spread. And indeed they were! Man, these sandwiches were good. The chicken salad was simple (poached chicken, shredded and mixed with mayonnaise, fresh tarragon, minced shallots, and lemon juice) but fabulous! Tea sandwiches aside, I would definitely make this chicken salad again for any of my chicken salad needs. Yum! I can't even pinpoint what why so good about it, or why it was so hugely superior to most chicken salads, but it was awesome. Said deliciousness was then spread between two pieces of white bread. Using a biscuit cutter, I cut circular sandwiches (leaving plenty of leftover crusts and scraps to much on!). The outside edges of the sandwiches got a light coat of mayonnaise and were rolled in finely chopped smoked almonds. The smokiness of the nuts was a great addition to the recipe. It provided a burst of flavor and a nice contrast to the chicken salad. My only complaint about this recipe is that it didn't call for enough nuts. I bought extra but we still ran out. So we had some nut-less sandwiches. The nutty ones were better, but even without they were pretty damn good. Yum. Yum, yum, yum!

Here is the recipe.

I had four flights getting to and from California this past weekend, so I met four new people in the seats next to me. In summary: a woman who works in sales for a company that makes hair care products, a guy who builds 3-D models for military training exercises, a labor and delivery nurse at the Stanford hospital, and a guy who does something with military aircraft engines (he was vague -- I didn't pry). They were all extremely nice (4 out of 4 is unusual!). The 3-D model guy and I talked all the way from Chicago to San Jose (which is a long way!). The funny thing about talking to strangers is that I feel like I can say anything -- I'm almost certainly not going to see the person again, so why not!?! He asked me all sorts of odd questions about my family, and my dating history, and I just rambled on with embarrassing anecdotes and true confessions. I'm sure he thought I was nutty, but I don't care! I forcefully expressed opinions I am not even sure I agree with. I asked him unusual questions about himself. It was very entertaining.

I have always felt vaguely tempted to just make up an entirely different life in one of these airplane conversations. I could be a kindergarten teacher, or a surgeon, or a competitive surfer (ok, maybe not that -- I don't really have the surf look about me). I have never done it though. I am pretty sure some people think I am making it up when I tell them that I teach college math. One of the four aforementioned people asked me if I am currently an undergrad at IU. Imagine their surprise when I said I teach there! Someday I will fly the friendly skies with a whole new life. I'll have to think about this. What shall I name myself? And what shall I do for a living?


Anonymous said...

Back when I worked for an airline and spent a lot of time flying I had to have conversations with a lot of strangers. They'd inevitably ask what I did for a living, so I would make stuff up - I didn't want to tell them I worked for the airline they were flying or else I'd have heard nothing but complaints, especially if I was occupying a first class seat.

I used to say I was either a ghostwriter for celebrity autobiographies or a trust fund kid.

One really persistent woman kept wanting to know who I'd written autobiographies for (and yes, I find that funny, too), so I just made up a bunch of stuff about people who may or may not have actually "written" books.

Magdalen said...

About the sandwiches: I've made this recipe more than once, and to save time and aggravation, I chop the almonds and add them to the chicken salad. After taking the crusts off the bread, I slather on the chicken salad, cut the resulting sandwiches into quarters, and there's much less work and wastage. Of course, I don't then photograph the platter. I will say -- they do look lovely! And I can get my head around the notion of eating all the scraps... yum.

Teena said...

Anon: I'm scared to fly and I love it when the person net to me works for the airline. It makes me feel comforted to have someone sitting there who presumably flies a lot and has some expertise about airline operations. On the other hand, claiming to be a ghostwriter for celebrity autobiographies also sounds tempting. You could be a ghostwriter for Britney!

Magdalen: The one advantage of rolling the almonds on the outside is that the nuts don't get soggy! Cutting in quarter would be a good suggestion. It was a shame that some of the scraps ended up going to waste!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes airline employees get tired of the complaints, but if I ever end up on a plane next to you I'll share my calmness about flying by answering your questions.

Also, if I were Britney's ghostwriter I'd tell her to put on some damn undies!!

Teena said...


Yeah, Britney could use a lot of advice from a sensible ghostwriter I think.