Yesterday kicked off Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations and to mark the occasion, I am sharing a recipe that Ottolenghi put on his Instagram last week. I was inspired.
Coronation Chicken Salad was served at Queen Elizabeth’s coronation luncheon back in 1953, invented specifically for the occasion. Essentially, it was a curried chicken salad which I happen to really enjoy. I’m not sure when I first tasted curry, perhaps it was in a dip served with crudite? But now I am a real lover of anything with a curried flavor. Hubs is too thankfully.
So, when I was scrolling on Instagram last week and saw Ottolenghi preparing his riff on Coronation Chicken Salad that, in true Ottolenghi fashion, converted this poultry based dish into one that celebrated vegetables, my interest was peaked.
He is so clever that one. Instead of chicken, Ottolenghi uses caulflower which is a vegetable that will follow wherever you lead it, along with onions who always play nice. He coats both vegetables in oil, curry powder, salt and pepper and roasts them in a hot oven until just tender. I’ve often done this preparation just for a side dish, but for this recipe it’s just the start.
Then, he hard boils some eggs. Wait what? Yes, which he smashes to serve as a protein in the salad and make it a complete meal. This is where I diverted from the plan, just a wee bit. He called for 9 eggs, and I decided 4 sounded better. He also smooshed them and rather, I grated them which, is all the rage on social now. They almost dissolve and when mixed with the dressing give it a bit of texture, some protein, but is disguised (which honestly I thought would be better for my tasters).
To coat the vegetables, a mix of Greek yogurt and and a bit of mayonnaise is combined with some chili flakes, cumin, a squeeze of yogurt and the grated eggs. Toss, toss, toss.
And then I departed from Ottolenghi once again as I looked at my yellow-white mixture and decided it needed more color and some texture. I added in a few diced apricots (thinking they went well with the curry theme) and some slivered almonds. Some lightly salted cashews would work really nicely too I thought in hindsight.
Into a bowl the salad goes where it’s drizzled with some more olive oil, a bit more chili flake and then instead of Ottolenghi’s tarragon which sends some in my house into fits of rage, I swapped out fresh dill – just a scant amount for a touch of flavor and to make it look pretty.
Remember to taste and adjust for seasoning. Cauliflower can be pretty bland so it needs all the help it can get. A squeeze of fresh lemon at serving time makes the dish come alive.
So if you are looking for a vegetarian side dish, or even a main dish perhaps on top of some greens or as part of a salad buffet this summer, perhaps consider Coronation Cauliflower Salad!
Post Script. My cousins and I happen to be in New York for a few days and were struck by sudden hunger while shopping at Bergdorf’s and a very kind sales person recommended their restaurant on the 7th floor with views of the park. On the menu was a Coronation Chicken Salad Sandwich! Meant to be, right? I guess it’s a seasonal menu, but someone clearly thought ahead. We all ordered it as a salad and it was delicious, although not that pretty to look at. Built almost like a burger, but it had texture from slivered almonds and currants (which I added as an alternative to the apricots in my recipe as a result)…
Happy Platinum Jubilee to Queen Elizabeth! Recipe at the very bottom of the post…
Here are some other Chicken Salads, Curries and such on The Kitchen Scout…
Slow-Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala