Tag Archives: capers

I’d Be Peachy Keen

In these fleeting days of summer, I find myself drawn to the light.  The last rays before the sun drifts behind a hillside.  Don’t go, day, don’t go.

As a chill presents itself in the evening air and the day end creeps dangerously close to dinner time, before we know it, it’s winter.  Under the cover of nightfall, we find ourselves holed up, hunkered down, and ordering in.  In these final days of summer, I refuse to submit.  I’ll keep the picnic dream alive with one last summertime favorite.  Chicken salad — with peaches. Double down or walk away.

I still remember the day of the epiphany.  Apparently pulling one over for years of my youth, I found my mom in the kitchen, passing off canned “chicken” with mayo as the real deal homemade.  Living under the pretense that an aptitude for recipes such as chicken salad came only by way of a generation gap and an arsenal of secret ingredients, I was appalled.  The thought of a dressing untempered by even so much as mustard nearly brought tears to my eyes.  What do you mean that’s all it is? Just, just…mayonnaise?

Appalled at the simplicity, I developed a leniency towards recipes bulked out with cranberries, almonds and the like.  A balanced tang countered with a delicate sweetness.  Not to mention a limited quantity of mayonnaise.

This time looking for something a bit different, I took to the internet.  I landed on a recipe that incorporated Dijon and capers in addition to fresh fruit.  I substituted peaches for fresh grapes, timidly mixed in the capers…and was delighted!  Perfect for those endless summer nights.

Chicken Salad with Peach, Nuts and Capers

Adapted from epicurious.com

Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds chicken breast

5 cups water

2 chicken bouillon cubes

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 cup diced peach

1 cup (3 ounces) coarsely chopped walnuts, pecans, macadamia, whatever you have on hand

3 tablespoons drained capers, chopped

Bring water and bouillon cubes to a boil in a large saucepan, then add chicken and cook at a bare simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, about 5-8 minutes. Drain and cool, then dice into 1-inch chunks.

Meanwhile, stir together yogurt, mayonnaise, and mustard.

Stir chicken and remaining ingredients into dressing with salt and pepper to taste.

(This is, of course, best when eaten alongside a blended margarita.  Keep the summer dreams alive!)

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Not Sure About Nicoise

If it’s pink in the middle, it’s cooked too little.  A catchy little tune drilled into me by a dancing burger.  Undoubtedly commissioned to prevent BBQs from going down the tubes (literally), it was introduced to me in grade school.   To this day, every time a dining companion ponders the inquiry of how they’d like their burger cooked, heart palpitations ensue.  Just. Say. Well.

In the case of tuna, for me, it’s always been to the contrary.  Anything more than a light sear and it’s equivalent to pencil shavings.   The silken texture I love is gone with the wind.   Fluttering away with the pungent scent of a freshly opened can.

Finding myself these days on new horizons, it seemed fitting to give canned tuna a second chance.  In Korea, it’s economical and also readily available.  Whereas fresh tuna stands out for its unassuming flavor, canned tends to be a bit musky.  Deciding to harness this, I incorporated capers as a briny compliment.  Finished with a healthy dose of lemon juice, misconceptions flew out the window. Paired with an assemblage of veggies, eggs, and potatoes, I had a tasty spin on an old French classic. Bon appetit!

Tuna Salad Nicoise

Serves 4

For the dressing:

1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 pinch salt

1 pinch black pepper

Whisk first three ingredients together in the bottom of a small bowl.  Add oil, one tablespoon at a time, while whisking rapidly to emulsify.  Finish with salt and pepper.

For the salad:

2 250 g cans light tuna

1/2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp capers, lightly diced

4 cups lettuce, washed and torn

16 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cucumber, sliced

8 new potatoes, boiled and quartered

4 eggs, hard-boiled and sliced

4 large bowls, to serve

Combine tuna, lemon juice and capers.  Set aside.  In bowls, arrange one-quarter each of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, potatoes, and eggs.  Top with tuna mixture.  Toss with dressing and enjoy!

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