Copycat recipes of your favorite takeout foods are vast. Not that I have ever had PF Changs but the knock off recipes for their meals are endless. Or McDonald's or Applebee's or Chili's. You get the idea. If you desire a knock off recipe from a chain restaurant, with some searching a decent recipe can be found. But what about your local mom and pop diner? Here is where years of culinary experience come into play. And a little trial and error, of course.
Over the years I have perfected this T&T sandwich but its original base came from a Chicken Cranberry Pecan Salad similar to the local sandwich joint. Differences being are subtle and have more to do with things completely out of my control such as their homemade bread. Don't know what it is but it is the best. While I have found a great store bought, off the shelf substitute to their homemade heaven, their bread still is the best. As far as the salad is concerned, I think mine is just as good as theirs, maybe better because the onion pieces are smaller. A personal preference, yes, but I do believe better.
Chicken is diced, not shredded. Sizing should be about the size of a marble.
Walnuts replace pecans, black pepper replaces white, and parsley, as always, was omitted.
Mayo is not my favorite condiment. In fact, it is so far down on the list of condiments to use, it will go bad in the fridge before being consumed. When a jar of mayo is opened, numerous meals requiring the use of mayo are planned within the next two months so as to waste food. Normally, the use of mayo is kept to the barest minimum needed. However, this recipe calls for 1/2 cup of which does not provide near the coverage to the sheer amount of chicken used. How much mayo used is determined each and every time the salad is made. Sometimes is it 3/4 cup, sometimes it is closer to 1 cup. Whatever makes it enough to make the salad stick together.
Additionally, while not listed, 1/4 cup of finely, finely, almost pureed red or yellow onions are added. Red is better as they are sweeter but does tend to discolor the salad.
Scaled for Likability: Great
This is salad is perfect for bread, crackers, lettuce, or wraps. It is good use for chicken leftovers, either boiled or rotisserie. Celery finely chopped provided a perfect use for the leaves at the tips of the stalk. No need to waste flavor. Pecans to me are sweet and while I have never ate this salad with pecans, I do not think it would accent the flavors well. However, pecan crusted chicken is popular so what do I know? To each their own.
The best, absolute best, secret about this recipe, is the substitution of chicken with leftover turkey. Either roasted from thanksgiving or from the leftover bbq turkey a few days ago. Turkey salad sandwiches are even better than chicken salad sandwiches, especially with cranberries!