Blueberries are like that adorable friend we all have. Plays well with others, loved by all, always a hit at parties. I have no words to mince with blueberries. They are quite simply one of summer’s darlings. One toothy bite into these plump orbs and I’m always reminded of damp woods and our Pacific Northwest summers, and U-Pick fields and blueberry bushes covered in morning mist. I recently learned that our fair state of Washington is one of the top producers of blueberries, coming in at a nothing-to-sneeze-at 96.1 million pounds. We’re not all about coffee and tech here, you know. While most folks favor the blueberries’ subtle, grassy sweetness in things like yogurt parfaits, pancakes and muffins, I’m also a fan of showcasing the blueberries tangier side in savory dishes. Cause blueberries, like most people, have complex personalities and there’s no need to stifle that in the kitchen.
I was recently asked to come up with a recipe that would make a great portable picnic food using seasonal fruit. Eureka! An idea was born. Whatever mastermind originally crafted the curry chicken salad was on to something. It is probably one of the best makeover’s to Mom’s classic, mayonnaise-slathered chicken salad. With a few simple ingredients that nowadays are common in many grocery stores, you have vibrant color, a depth of flavor, and in my version, a surprising hint of fresh, natural sweetness from our friend, the blueberry. Pop it in a pita and you’ve got tasty on the go!
You know I’m a sucker for a good picnic, and there’s no better time. Make sure you invite this season’s most beloved berry into your next basket of picnic goodies.
- 1.25 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about six pieces)
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 Tablespoon curry powder
- 1/3 cup celery, finely diced
- 1/3 cup green onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 pack of your favorite pita bread
- Remove any fat from chicken thighs and then place into a small stock pot along with coconut milk and curry powder. Simmer on medium-low heat for about 25 minutes or until no longer pink inside and temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove from simmering liquid and place into a small bowl and chill for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, chop celery, green onions, walnuts and parsley and set aside in a large mixing bowl.
- When chicken has cooled, dice into small pieces and add to the chopped ingredients.
- Gently toss with mayonnaise and salt and lastly, the blueberries.
- Cut pita bread into two halves and fill each with about 1/2-3/4 cup of the salad.
This salad is best consumed chilled and within 1-3 days of making it. Plain yogurt can be used as a substitute for the mayonnaise.