The wind changed course last Friday morning, turning the air outside our Orange County home thick and heavy with smoke and ash from brush fires burning 40 miles south. Consequently, the day originally planned to be spent outdoors took a turn of its own and sent me straight into the kitchen, where I happily spent several hours experimenting with the food stocked in our fridge and pantry. I poured myself an iced coffee, turned on my favorite playlist and set about making three salads that could be pulled right out of the fridge and onto the pool deck for some light noshing over the sun-soaked weekend to come.
This one is my own take on a favorite Whole Foods creation. My version of this simple salad whips up fast and easy and stores well in the fridge for snacking over several days - if it lasts that long.
My go to chicken salad recipe typically involves a light tarragon vinaigrette. But lately I've been drizzling Liquid Aminos (a substitute for soy sauce) on almost everything I eat. So I married up my traditional love of an herb-focused chicken salad with my latest taste sensation and ended up with a salad that may be put on regular rotation all summer long. While you may be tempted to add salt along with the many other seasonings that go into this mixture, be forewarned that the Aminos or soy sauce will have already satisfied that element. Taste first, salt later.
I had a small bag of potatoes that were about to turn bad and decided to put them to work in this light, mayonnaise-free potato salad. I pulled out a jar of smoky spanish paprika, originally intending it to add some color. But I let the pungent smokiness of the paprika take the salad in it's own direction and in the end, I had a Spanish inspired version that was equally good served cold from the fridge, at room temperature or heated. For a heartier twist, a thinly sliced hard boiled egg would be a perfect compliment to this dish.