April 9, 2014 by caitlinvaclark
My first ever visit to the United Kingdom was in March of 2008 for Chris to look at graduate programs. We timed our trip to attend The Boat Race, the annual Oxford and Cambridge face off on the Thames, since at the time, a few of our friends were rowing for Cambridge. The grad school thing didn’t pan out, but little did I know Chris and I would end up getting married and living over here anyways.
This year’s Boat Race coincided with the start to Chris’ birthday week. Since he was a rower through college, it’s one of his favorite events here in London and was the perfect excuse to throw him a little party. My sisters-in-law share a flat near Putney Bridge (the start of the race) so I thought that would be the perfect gathering place. Then I had dreams of a fun booze-filled afternoon picnicking along the Thames, but of course the weather had plans of its own.
My first boat race experience was a rainy mess and this weekend was no different. But I guess I shouldn’t complain. I’m not the one who trains all year to exert themselves for 4.2 miles in the choppy cold water. I just have to stand on the sidelines, drink beer, and cheer for the 60 seconds that they pass our section of the river.
Of course today is the sunniest day in the history of days here in London. I literally have to type with one hand, as I’m using the other to block the glare on my computer. I mean I guess I could also just move inside, but my skin needs the vitamin D! Where was this weather on Sunday!?
If you are lucky enough to have a sunny afternoon for a proper outdoor picnic, this Cranberry Cashew Chicken Salad is awesome!
Roast up some bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts for maximum flavor. While the chicken cools, mix up the dressing. I like to use a traditional mayonnaise base cut with a zingy sherry vinegar and fresh chives for a bright oniony pop.
You can make the chicken salad a day in advance, but I recommend waiting until just before serving to stir in the cashews so they stay crunchy.
A brioche roll and peppery arugula make this the perfect picnic sandwich.
Cranberry Cashew Chicken Salad
4 bone-in chicken breasts
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbs sherry vinegar
1 1/2 Tbs chives, finely chopped
1/2 tsp lemon pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup cashews, roughly chopped
Fresh brioche rolls and arugula for serving
Preheat oven to 375˚F.
Place chicken breasts in a baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 45 minutes, until cooked through. Allow to cool.
In the base of a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sherry vinegar, chives, lemon pepper, and salt. Once the chicken has cooled, remove the skin and shred the chicken. Toss with the dressing. Stir in the cranberries and cashews.
Serve on rolls topped with arugula.