This chicken salad with pecans, grapes and pineapple has everything that makes a dish sublime. Savory, sweet, tangy, and crunchy with every mouthful.
Cubes of marinated chicken grilled to perfection, sweet seedless grapes and fresh pineapple, and toasted pecans are tossed in mayo, sour cream and a tiny drizzle of lime juice. Just 10 minutes to prepare and assemble, and 20 minutes to cook the chicken.
It took me two days of planning. And when I finally assembled it, I was so apprehensive that the sun would go down before I could take photos. There was no way the indoor lighting could bring out the lovely colors and textures of this salad. So, I worked fast with that little time I had. Why so late in the day making the salad? We woke up late. And why we did is a tropical nightmare story.
Alex was also making stuffed chicken breasts for lunch and I let her have the kitchen to herself so she could move freely. Work surface is limited so it’s not ideal to have two cooks making two or more dishes at the same time. Only after she was done did I assemble the salad. No cooking was required anyway. The chicken thighs were cooked a day ahead and chilled to make cutting easier.
- 3 chicken thighs bone in
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 1 and 1/2 cups seedless grapes well chilled
- 1 and 1/2 cups fresh pineapple chunks well chilled
- 3/4 cup pecans toasted in an oil-free pan, cooled and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon lime juice or lemon juice
Wipe the chicken thighs with paper towels. Rub with one teaspoon salt, a quarter teaspoon pepper and all of the cayenne powder. Place in a covered container and leave to marinate for at least two hours.
Grill, broil, poach, fry or steam the chicken just until done. How you cook the chicken will affect the flavor and texture of the salad. Grilling will give the salad a lovely smoky taste and aroma while frying will give the chicken, and the salad, better texture. You choose which cooking method you prefer. I poached mine.
Cool the chicken then chill in a covered container for a couple of hours or overnight.
Take the chicken out of the fridge. Discard the bones. Cut the meat into one-inch cubes.
Place the grapes, pineapple and pecans in a bowl. Add the chicken. Toss lightly.
In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, sour cream and lime juice. Add the to chicken, fruits and nuts. Toss lightly but thoroughly. Taste. Add salt and pepper, as needed.
Serve the chicken salad with pecans, grapes and pineapple at once while all the ingredients are still cold. Or chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.