We’ve had a week of surprisingly warm days here in the Pacific Northwest. I had begun to mentally prepare for autumn and the rainy season when I had to pull out my shorts again and remember that using the oven at dinnertime was a really bad idea. Not that I’m complaining, because really we had a very short and mild summer. I never did get to making true “summer” meals, which for me means things that are served cold rather than hot. I’m making up for it this week, though, with the previous honeydew with lime and mint and now the lemon thyme chicken salad.
This recipe came about when I was making our standard chicken salad for lunch one day with leftover roasted chicken that I had taken off the bone and frozen a month ago (remember those chickens?). My husband brilliantly suggested adding lemon thyme from our herb garden, and it was an instant success.
The first time I made this, we had a purple spring onion from our farmshare and used the green tops instead of the onion bulb. It was wonderful. The plain yellow onion we used the next time (pictured) was fine, but the spring onion tops were just so much better. Our onion tops were pretty potent, so if your onions or scallions are on the mild side, you might need to add a little more than the 1/3 cup called for in the recipe.
Lemon Thyme Chicken Salad
4 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken
2 to 2 1/2 cups quartered or roughly chopped grapes
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 cup chopped spring onions (green and white parts) or scallions (whole), or 1/4 cup finely diced plain old yellow onion
1/4 cup chopped lemon thyme leaves (woody stems discarded)
Mix everything together and refrigerate to let the flavors meld. Serve alone or on a sandwich with lettuce or fresh spinach. (My photo below has a slice of tomato on the sandwich, too, but after taking a bite, I decided the tomato flavor didn’t really go well with the sweet lemony flavor of the chicken salad.)
Note: To easily remove the lemon thyme leaves from their stems, hold the entire sprig in one hand and grip the base of a stem with the tips of your fingers on the other hand. Slide your fingers up the stem, using your fingertips/fingernails to gently scrape the leaves off the stem. (I have read that you can use the dull side of a knife to do this, too, but it didn’t work for me.)