California Central Coast Recipes

Chicken Salad Central Coast Style

In the eighties and early nineties, when my husband and I used to travel up to the Cupertino -Los Altos area, we'd always stop at our favorite "Emporium Department Store" for lunch. They had the best Chicken Salad Sandwich that we've ever tasted! This is another "chick recipe" as my husband calls it-though he admits he loved it too.

When the Emporium closed our stomachs felt the loss! Determined to savor that "taste" once again, we got to work recreating it--and then some! Let me tell you! It's a delicious chicken salad made up of the following ingredients: cooked chicken breast pieces, diced celery, diced apples, red grape halves, toasted walnuts, Brie cheese chunks, a dabbling of mayonnaise and all served on raisin bread that's been lightly toasted. Oh my God! It's wonderful! Definitely a serotonin inducer. This recipe can be served as a salad or a sandwich --what best suits the occasion. This is a delightful lunch or a light dinner on a hot night. It's perfect for sharing with friends and family.

You can make this recipe using a food processor to chop all your ingredients except the grapes and brie, or by hand cutting. The hand method is better for presentation and texture because all the chopped pieces are uniform. However, if you're in a hurry, you can use your processor but be careful not to over grind the produce and turn it into a soupy mess.

This recipe will serve six people, three half sandwiches each. I like to serve each person three half sandwiches (because raisin bread runs small) placed around each dinner plate with extra grapes (still on the vine) in the center of each plate. ©2018, Chicken Salad Central Coast Style
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time:
re-calculate ingredients for:


3/4 pound cooked boneless chicken breasts , diced
1 cup celery , diced
2-1/2 cups Red Seedless grapes , halved
3 cups Gala apples , diced
3/4 cups toasted walnuts , coarsely chopped
1/2 to 3/4 cups mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons Lemon juice or to taste
7 ounces Brie cheese , diced
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
18 slices Raisin bread , lightly toasted

Potato chips in a serving bowl on the side

Preparation Directions.

1 Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Coarsely chop the walnuts and place on a baking sheet. Bake for about ten minutes.

2 While the walnuts are baking, cut up the chicken, celery, red grapes, celery and apples.

3 Combine all the above ingredients. Mix thoroughly but gently.

4 By this time, the walnuts should be out of the oven and cooling. Add them to the mixture and gently mix.

5 Add the mayonnaise and toss again.

6 Add the lemon juice and thoroughly mix.

7 Add the salt and pepper to taste.

8 Carefully trim the outer skin of the Brie cheese. cut into to bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle over mixture and stir to distribute evenly throughout the mixture.

9 Correct seasoning and refrigerate for a few hours to merge the flavors.

10 At serving time, spoon the chicken salad on the toasted slices of raisin bread or serve as a salad with raisin bread diagonally halved on sides of plates.

11 Serve on dinner plates as described above and add extra red grapes to center of each plate and serve. Offer potato chips in separate bowl.

Wine and Food Pairing and Serving Suggestions.

A cold Pinot Grigio goes perfectly with this delicious chicken salad.

A tip from Sue!

Cooking with onions and garlic

When your recipe calls for both sauted onions and garlic, saute the onions first - they take longer to soften. Then when the onions are almost softened, add the garlic.The garlic doesn't need very long to become fragrant - and you don't want to burn your garlic and turn it bitter!