This week’s Culinary SOS request comes from Annette Farmer in Mar Vista:
“I understand that the previous incarnation of the cafe at Nordstrom in the Westside Pavilion is now closed. They used to have a chicken salad that included chicken breast, green apple slices, baby greens or spring mix greens and some sort of cheese (possibly goat milk but not feta) and a very light dressing. Any chance you can get your hands on that recipe?”
Both tart fresh apple slices and dried apple chips flavor this salad, also tossed with sliced onion, lightly spiced candied almonds, julienned strips of chicken and creamy goat cheese. The salad is tossed with a bright Champagne vinaigrette. The whole recipe, including the candied almonds, comes together in about an hour, perfect as a side or a light meal.
Thanks, Annette! You can find the recipe here.
Nordstrom’s chicken salad
Total time: 1 hour, plus cooling time for the almonds
Note: Adapted from a recipe from Nordstrom.
Spiced candied almonds
1 tablespoon egg white (about ½ egg white)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 pound blanched almond slivers
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground cayenne pepper
1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy, then whisk in the brown sugar until the sugar is moist. Add the almonds, tossing to evenly coat.
2. Spread the almonds into a single, evenly spaced layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toast the almonds until they are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. While the almonds are toasting, in a small bowl combine the sugar, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
4. When the almonds are done, immediately sprinkle over the spice mixture, using a spatula to toss the hot almonds with the spices until evenly coated. Set the almonds aside to cool completely before using. This makes a generous 2 cups spiced candied almonds, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe; the almonds will keep, sealed in an airtight container, at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Generous 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
3/4 cup canola oil
In the bowl of a blender, beat together the shallots, mustard, sugar, garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly blend in the oil to form a creamy vinaigrette. Taste and adjust the seasonings if desired. This makes a generous cup of vinaigrette, which will keep, covered and refrigerated, 3 to 5 days.
Chicken, apple and goat cheese salad
1/3 cup Champagne vinaigrette, more to taste
8 to 10 cups (10 ounces) mixed greens
4 ounces sliced tart apple, preferably Granny Smith
1 cup spiced candied almonds, divided
6 ounces goat cheese, divided
1/4 red onion, sliced into thin half-rings
3 ounces dried apple “chips”
12 ounces cooked chicken, cut into strips
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. In a large bowl, combine one-third cup vinaigrette and the mixed greens, apple slices, one-half of the spiced candied almonds, one-half of the goat cheese (added in small dollops), the red onion, apple chips and chicken. Gently toss together, adding additional dressing as needed and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Divide the salad among 4 plates. Garnish each serving with the remaining spiced candied almonds and goat cheese, sprinkling the almonds over the salad and adding the cheese in small dollops. Serve immediately.
Each serving: 854 calories; 38 grams protein; 48 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams fiber; 59 grams fat; 14 grams saturated fat; 97 mg cholesterol; 24 grams sugar; 384 mg sodium.