Food & Drink

Signature Dish: Tangy Chicken Salad

Tangy Chicken Salad from Claudia O’Hale of Smithfield.
Tangy Chicken Salad from Claudia O’Hale of Smithfield.

Claudia O’Hale’s family loves some chicken salad.

She has several variations that she serves in her Smithfield home. This recipe, which appears in old cookbooks as “boiled chicken salad,” is one of her family’s favorites.

O’Hale recounted a recent conversation with her 30-year-old daughter.

“I visited my daughter, Paige, in New Orleans last week,” O’Hale wrote in an email. “I think she has eaten at every great restaurant in the city. We were eating at Shaya, an Israeli restaurant, when she began talking about her memories of eating chicken salad as a child for breakfast. I could not remember any leftover chicken salad. She said she would get up early to make sure she could get some.”

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Tangy Chicken Salad

The original recipe from Claudia O’Hale of Smithfield had double the amount of chicken, celery, eggs and pickles. This version is adapted to make fewer servings.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 cup diced celery

4 hard-boiled eggs, diced

1/4 cup or more diced sweet or dill pickles

1 egg, beaten well

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar


Salt and pepper, to taste

Place chicken breasts in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and fully cook, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from water and let cool. Cut chicken into small pieces. Place chicken in a bowl with celery, eggs and pickles. Place in the refrigerator.

Make the dressing: Combine egg, salt, sugar, mustard and vinegar in a small pot. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Then cool dressing in the refrigerator until cold.

Add enough of your favorite mayonnaise to the dressing to coat chicken. (Recipe tester’s note: Start with 1/2 cup and go from there.) Mix dressing and chicken. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 4-6 servings.