Two festive salads to brighten up your dinner table

The past couple of months have been out of control, crazy busy for many of the team at The Dinner Party Collective… however we’d still love to share with you a number of our favourite recipes for this festive/holiday season. They are dishes which will be gracing our very own tables for family and friends over the coming couple of weeks and we hope that they just might provide a little fresh inspiration for each of our readers as well.

Here we have two beautiful salads, coming to you from opposite ends of the earth… both rather elegant and exotic in their own right. My thanks go out to Sandra (here in Australia) and Anatoli (in the USA) for sharing their family favourites.

From Sandra @ Please Pass the Recipe

Chicken, Mango and Cashew Salad with fresh herbs and Spiced Yoghurt Dressing | The Dinner Party Collective
Chicken mango and cashew salad | contributed by Sandra

My family’s Christmas meal traditions have evolved with the diversification of Australia’s cuisine. Our feast will be light, mainly served cold, and will include champagne.

I grew up in a home of modest means, before the battery hen industry become the monolith it is today and roast chicken was a Christmas extravagance. Chicken is universally loved, so in that spirit this has become my summertime and Christmas party piece. I’m frequently asked specifically to make this salad if I’m contributing to a buffet meal, I very rarely bring home leftovers. The mango, cashews and spiced yoghurt elevate mundane chicken into a delicious meal. It’s at the top of my list of dishes that are quick to prepare, easy to carry and look very impressive on a platter.

Thirty minutes in the kitchen will see this salad ready to go. Pick up a ready roasted chicken from your local charcoal grill shop, or use up leftover Christmas turkey, either way, this salad is a crowd pleaser.

The exact origins of this recipe are lost, but I remember the idea came from a glossy foodie calendar at least 20 years ago.

Sandra

Chicken Mango and Cashew Salad with Spiced Yoghurt Dressing | The Dinner Party Collective | by Sandra

Chicken, Mango and Cashew Salad with fresh herbs and Spiced Yoghurt Dressing | The Dinner Party Collective
Chicken mango and cashew salad
  • 1 whole Roasted Chicken
  • 1 large Mango (peeled and cubed 2cm x 2cm)
  • 3/4 cup Roasted Salted Cashew Nuts
  • 1/2 Telegraph Cucumber (halved, deseeded and thinly sliced)
  • 4 Spring Onions/Scallions (greens only, sliced on the diagonal)
  • 3 sticks Celery (destrung and thinly sliced on the angle)
  • 1 cup Snow Pea/Mange Tout Shoots
  • 1/2 cup Snow Peas/Mange Tout (finely sliced on the angle)
  • 1/2 cup fresh Mint Leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh Coriander/Cilantro Leaves

For the Dressing:

  • 1 cup Natural Yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon Curry Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
  • Juice of 1 Lime

Spoon the yoghurt into a muslin lined sieve and let it drain while you prepare the other ingredients.

Strip the meat from the chicken and cut into bit sized pieces.

Peel and cut the mango into 2cm chunks. Set aside the chicken and mango in the fridge.

Wash and dry the vegetables.

Pick the leaves from the herbs, wash and dry. Set aside a little of the coriander for garnish.

Slice the cucumber, snow peas and celery, then in a bowl, toss them together with the herbs and cashews.

Add the mango to the chicken, then gently stir through the dressing (see below).

Just before serving, combine the vegetables with the dressed chicken, arrange on a platter and serve.

Garnish with the extra coriander.

To make the Dressing:

Whisk the thick yoghurt until smooth.

Into the yoghurt, stir the curry powder and sugar. Season to taste with salt, pepper and fresh lime juice.

From Anatoli @ Talk-a-Vino

Olivie Salad | The Dinner Party Collective
Olivie Salad | contributed by Anatoli

This family recipe is often associated with the happy moments in life, as it would be typically invoked for the special moments, whatever they are. While now we can make this salad any day (it was not always the case growing up back in Russia – some of the ingredients, like sweet peas, for instance, were very hard to find). It is still typically associated with holidays or at least special dinners of some sort (like a visit of good friends). Also, it is almost a privilege to make this special recipe – 95% of the time my wife simply doesn’t let me make this salad, exactly as my Dad was, as I don’t always cut all the ingredients uniformly, and this is a big issue in her eyes (and I can’t argue with perfection).

Anatoli

Olivie Salad | The Dinner Party Collective | by Anatoli

Olivie Salad | The Dinner Party Collective
Olivie Salad | contributed by Anatoli
  • 4 Medium Potatoes, whole, unpeeled (Russet, White or Idaho – don’t use Yukon gold, it will not retain the shape after it is cut)
  • 4 Large Carrots (unpeeled)
  • 1.25 lb good Bologna (whole or sliced into quarter an inch rounds. Don’t use supermarket deli Bologna, go to the German or Polish specialty deli)
  • 8 medium size Pickles (use Vlasic Whole Kosher Dills, if you’re able to find them)
  • 8 medium hard boiled (Free-Range) Eggs
  • 1 large can of Sweet Peas (any brand)
  • About 1/2 cup Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise – no substitutions!!!

Wash potatoes and carrots, don’t peel, and boil them for about 20 minutes (start timer after the water started to boil). You can check readiness with the knife – you should be able to poke through with very little resistance. You want to boil carrots and potatoes with the timer, as you don’t want them to overcook – if they do, they will lose shape once cut. Once potatoes and carrots are boiling, boil eggs for about 10 minutes. When potatoes and carrots are done, transfer them into the cold water to stop cooking process, also cool down the eggs. Get all the ingredients on the plate, and let them cool off so you will be able to handle them.

Next step – peel off and discard skin from potatoes and carrots. Peel off the shell from the eggs, then wash them and dry – you don’t want any pieces of shell in the salad. Okay, now all the prep work is finished, and all you have to do is to cut the ingredients (dice might be a better word).

Dice potatoes into about quarter of inch squares, same goes for carrots, eggs, bologna. Cut the pickles and put them in the strainer – you don’t need extra liquid in the salad. Open sweet peas, drain them completely (again, use strainer), and add them to the bowl.

At this point you need to mix everything together – tread lightly, as you don’t need a mush instead of a salad. Once you are done mixing, taste it – you looking for the balance of flavors. If you think you need more salt or acidity, add more pickles – at the end of the day, you just want to arrive at a tasty combination.

Now, the last step – you need to add mayo. This should really be done “by the taste”. Start from the small quantity, mix it, taste it, and add more if you think you need it. This salad must be served cold, so you have to put it in the fridge before you will serve it. The best thing to do is to let the salad chill, and then add more mayonnaise right before serving it – this way it will look and taste the freshest.

There are a few possible modifications to this recipe. One is to replace bologna with chicken or beef. The trick is that to cook either one just enough that it will be ready, but not overcooked, because overcooked meat will just break down and it will not be Olivie salad anymore. You can bake or boil chicken breast (should be breast only, as you don’t need any extra fat). If you will use beef, you have to boil it – or if you decide to roast, it will have to be well done, as you can’t have any blood in this salad.

Last modification you can make is to add a tiny amount finely, finely diced white/yellow onion. My dad used to do this, and it adds a nice note to the salad in my opinion, but it is a big no-no in our house now.

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