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Salpicão (Brazilian Chicken Salad)

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Salpicão is what is called a typical chicken salad from Brazil. Just like a Waldorf salad in the United States, this traditional Brazilian salad may have some variations - but the main ingredients remain the same. Chicken, apples, raisins and a mayonnaise based dressing are usually featured in Salpicão. Now, the best Salpicão that I ever had also has pineapple, lime juice, green apple and Media Crema (Table Cream).

This recipe is extra moist and tasty because it is made with rotisserie chicken, and one of the “secrets” to achieve a good blend of flavors and great texture is to manually shred the chicken into really tiny pieces. The fuits must be cut into a really small dice. This “secret” was passed to me by the two ladies who have been making this recipe for the past 25 years: my mom and one of her best friends, Leila (I think Leila, who is my mom's comadre, started making it first and my mom quickly followed).

Crunchy, slightly sweet and creamy, this salad is often found on the large salad bars at Brazilian steak houses. Serve on top of croissant, crusty bread, or inside lettuce rolls. Often in Brazil, we top it with string potatoes and skip the bread. Salpicão makes for a great appetizer, or a light lunch. I hope you enjoy the ultimate Salpicão recipe!

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium rotisserie chicken
  • 1 large green apple, cored, peeled and finelly diced
  • 1 large red apple, cored, peeled and finelly diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 16 ounces canned pineapple, drained and finelly diced (see Cook’s Notes)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ½ cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 can Media Crema (table cream)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Bread and lettuce leaves for serving

Directions:

In a large working surface, remove the skin and bones off the chicken. Shred the white and dark meat, manually. The pieces have to be finely shredded, but not ground (do not use a food processor). Transfer chicken to a large bowl.

Place green apple and red apple in a small bowl. Add lime juice and gently stir.

Fold apples, pineapple and raisins into chicken. Add mayonnaise and Media Crema and gently mix until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Serve chilled or at room temperature, accompanied with bread and lettuce.

Cook’s Notes:

Substitute canned pineapple for fresh pineapple if you are looking for a firmer texture and a more natural, healthier salad. I use canned pineapple to be true to my Mom’s original recipe, since she thinks that the canned pineapple adds a pleasant, slightly sweeter taste to the Salpicão.

Media Crema, as known as table cream, can be found at the Latin section of large grocery stores and at International markets.

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