Iím always searching for new dishes to serve at barbecues, family celebrations, and pot luck get-togethers, especially salads, since we are so often served the same old boring standbys.††† There used to be a small take-out restaurant called Díamico in the food court of the Minneapolis St. Paul Airport; they had wonderful fresh sandwiches, fabulous soups, and a large variety of homemade salads that were different from the norm.† I always ordered the salad sampler so I could taste a variety of their dishes.†† The following is my version of one of those salads.†† When I introduced this salad on my catering menu last year, it was well received, and has become the most popular summer salad at my catered events.†
This salad is quick to put together, and all of the chopping and cooking can be done ahead and refrigerated.† It will take you only a minute to mix the ingredients just before serving.† In fact, the salad can be assembled a day ahead; I would suggest, however that you stir in the almonds and red onion at the last minute (the almonds will get soft if they sit and the onion tends to get a little strong if it sits).† If youíre really in a hurry, Brianaís makes a good poppy seed dressing that can be substituted for the homemade dressing; I find, however, that the Pink Poppyseed Dressing takes less than 10 minutes to make and any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for several months.† Itís a great dressing for fresh fruit or a spinach and strawberry salad.
Chicken and Bowtie Salad
4††††††††† boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cooked, cooled, and shredded
1††††††††† cup celery, finely chopped
1/4††††† cup red onions, finely chopped
1††††††††† pound bowtie or farfalle pasta, cooked, rinsed, and cooled
1/2††††† cup whole almonds, toasted
1/2††††† cup dried cherries, or Craisins
1/2††††† batch Pink Poppy Seed Dressing
1 1/2†† cups plain yogurt
Mix the chicken, celery, red onion, pasta, almonds, and cherries or Craisins.† Mix the dressing ingredients, then stir into the salad ingredients. Chill before serving.
Pink Poppy Seed Dressing
3/4††††† cup sugar
1††††††††† tablespoon dry mustard
3/4††††† cup red wine vinegar
1††††††††† teaspoon dehydrated onion flakes
1††††††††† cup oil
1 1/2†† tablespoons poppy seeds
Place all ingredients except oil and poppy seeds in blender container and blend until well mixed.† With the motor running, slowly add the oil and blend until thick.† Stir in the poppy seeds.