This weekend’s extravaganza of entertaining prominently features high tea.
Served as my sister-in-law’s wedding banquet, the genteel array of finger sandwiches, scones and berries with cream is one Claire enjoyed on numerous occasions as a Marshall Scholar at Cambridge. She introduced her fiancé, Rick, to this not-so-dainty meal, which won over the self-professed picky eater.
My mother-in-law’s contribution are jars of homemade jam and fruit butter, tied up with blue ribbons and crowned with bits of lace. A master gardener, Ann also been tending teapots unearthed at rummage sales and planted with delicate, seasonal flowers.
I can’t wait for it to all come together Saturday evening. Claire had my seal of approval when she asked for local catering recommendations. High tea is one of my favorite food experiences, too.
So in honor of Claire and Rick, here is a recipe for that high-tea staple: chicken salad. With the inclusion of Major Grey’s mango chutney, this one has a decidedly British feel, despite its origin in New York High Society. The Washington Post adapted it from Florence Fabricant’s “The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center/Park Avenue Potluck: Recipes From New York’s Savviest Hostesses.”
Using a store-bought rotisserie bird makes this fast, summertime picnic fare. But for fresher flavor, cook the chicken at home. Start by trimming four or five boneless, skinless chicken breast halves of visible fat. Season them generously with salt and pepper, and arrange them on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Cover tightly with foil; bake in a 300-degree oven for 30 minutes. Cool before cutting.
The salad can be made and refrigerated a day in advance. Taste, and season as needed (with salt and pepper) before serving.
And for Ann, here is Saveur magazine’s recipe for Major Grey’s Chutney. Maybe next summer we’ll have time to make it.
Chicken Salad for the Ladies
5 cups cooked chicken, preferably white meat, cut into bite-size pieces
3/4 cup chopped scallions
Flesh from 1 large mango, diced (1 cup)
1/3 cup Major Grey’s mango chutney
1/4 cup regular or low-fat mayonnaise (do not use nonfat)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups plain, whole-milk Greek-style yogurt
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup roasted, salted peanuts, lightly crushed, for garnish (optional)
1/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)
In a serving bowl, combine the chicken, scallions, mango, chutney, mayonnaise, lemon juice, yogurt and soy sauce; stir to blend well.
Just before serving, garnish with the peanuts and cilantro, if desired. Serve on lettuce leaves or bread slices.
Makes 5 or 6 servings (7 cups).