Summer is in full swing. It seems like every time I turn around, one of my friends is having a picnic, going to the beach, or hosting a BBQ. When it comes to summer parties, there are a few staple dishes that I love to bring and they all fall under the same category: salads. Corn salads, fruit salads, potato salads – they are all perfect for get-togethers and so simple to create. The best part is that they can be fixed for any palate, so creative freedom is endless with the bounty of summer produce available: corn, peppers, peaches, berries…the list goes on.
Two salads that I’ve been craving the most in these dogs days of summer are ones that I’ve recently started crafting: egg salad and chicken salad. I’ve never really been drawn to them – I always thought that many are made with too much mayonnaise or didn’t have the most appetizing texture. So I made it my goal to create the best egg and chicken salads I could, using only peak-of-season produce and items from the market.
One thing you may be thinking is “where on earth did you find mayonnaise at the market?!” While I have done some research and found that mayo is not in fact necessary to create either of these salads, I am happy to tell you that there is a fabulous place to procure this item at both Pike and Bethesda Central Farm Markets! Nicole, owner of Two Acre Farm makes mayos in a variety of flavors. They contain no eggs which is how she’s able to sell them in her jars at the market. Farmhouse mayo is the regular flavor, but there is also garlic and sriracha! This makes it easy to elevate ordinary sandwiches and dishes into very different, creative ones. Stop by her tent – she will be delighted to give you a sample!
For both salads, I wanted to try something a little different. Typically, both egg and chicken salads contain celery. While I love the flavor and the crunch, it isn’t celery season yet. So I set out to find an adequate replacement that would mimic the texture of celery but enhance the flavor and add some “pizzazz” to the dishes. The chicken salad uses two ingredients that are just as great raw as they are cooked: corn and green beans. I have discovered the beauty of both these items raw and you really can’t beat the texture that they give to the dish. Plus, the sweet corn balances out the spiciness of the jalapeno (should you choose to use it). For the egg salad, I minced a sweet green pepper for crunch and added some fresh arugula for a touch of “pepperiness”. The flavors work together seamlessly and the arugula changes the consistency of the salad, bringing it to a whole different level of awesome.
You can try different veggies in these recipes. Find something to substitute, change the flavor of the mayonnaise, add some spice. That’s my favorite part about what I call “sandwich salads,” there really isn’t a wrong way to make them!
Summer Egg Salad
- 12 eggs (Liberty Delight Farms)
- 5 Tbsp. Garlic Mayonnaise [or the flavor of your choice] (Two Acre Farm)
- 1 Medium Green Pepper (Spiral Path Farm)
- ½ Medium Red Onion (Westmoreland Produce)
- 2 Handfuls Arugula (Young Harvests)
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
Hard boil the eggs. When they are room temperature, remove three yolks and set aside. Coarsely chop the remaining eggs and egg whites. Finely dice the green pepper and the onion. Using a whisk, combine the three egg yolks with the mayo until smooth. Combine all ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.
*This salad will last quite a few days. However, if you are making this in advance, I recommend adding the arugula at the last minute. This will ensure it doesn’t wilt.
Summer Chicken Salad
- 2 Chicken Breasts, bone-in (Liberty Delight Farms)
- ½ cup Garlic Mayo [or the flavor of your choice] (Two Acre Farm)
- ½ Red Onion (Westmoreland Produce)
- 2 Ears Sweet Corn (Twin Springs Fruit Farm)
- 1½ Cups Green Beans [about 30 beans] (Two Acre Farm)
- 1 Jalapeño* (Spiral Path Farm)
Rinse the chicken breasts and pat dry with a paper towel. Cover with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast uncovered in the oven at 350 F until a meat thermometer reads at least 165. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Once cooled, peel the meat from the bones and shred it.
Finely dice the onion. Cut the corn off the cob. Cut the tips off the green beans and chop into quarter inch pieces. Mince the jalapeño, if using. Combine all ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.