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The Curious Palate's chicken salad

The Curious Palate's chicken salad
Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

Dear SOS: A relatively new cafe in Mar Vista, the Curious Palate, makes a wonderful chicken salad with almonds, dried cranberries, scallions and Rocky Jr. chicken. It is the best chicken salad I have ever eaten. Is it possible to ... Read more

Total time: 45 minutes, plus roasting and cooling time for the chicken | Serves 6 to 8

Roast chicken

  • 1 (5- to 5 1/2-pound) roasting chicken
  • Salt
  • 1/2 apple
  • 1/2 lemon
  • A few sprigs thyme
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 black peppercorns

Step 1Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Step 2Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt, seasoning the inside and outside. Stuff the chicken with the apple, lemon, thyme, garlic, bay leaves and black peppercorns.

Step 3Truss the chicken and place it on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast the chicken until a thermometer inserted reaches 170 degrees, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Step 4Peel the skin from the chicken and shred the meat. Cover and refrigerate until needed. The chicken can be made up to 2 days ahead.


  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup canola oil

Step 1In a food processor or blender, combine the yolk, garlic, black pepper, salt and lemon juice. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil to form the aioli. This makes about 1 cup aioli, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe; the aioli will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 3 days.


  • 1/2 cup chopped arugula
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Step 1In a food processor, combine the arugula, basil, almonds and lemon juice. Pulse to puree the ingredients. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil to form the pesto. This makes about one-half cup pesto, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe; the pesto will keep for up to 2 days, covered and refrigerated.

Chicken salad assembly

  • Shredded roast chicken meat
  • 1/2 cup Aioli, more if desired
  • 1/4 cup Pesto, more if desired
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • Salt and pepper, if desired
  • 2 tablespoons sliced, roasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Step 1In a large bowl, toss the chicken meat with the aioli and pesto to coat. Stir in the tomatoes and green onion. Taste and adjust the aioli and pesto, and season to taste. Garnish the salad with the roasted almonds and cranberries before serving. This makes about 1 1/2 quarts salad, which will keep for up to 2 days, covered and refrigerated.

Note: Adapted from the Curious Palate in Mar Vista. The restaurant uses smaller chickens (Rocky Jr. brand); we tested with a larger roasting chicken and assembled the salad using canned roasted tomatoes.


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