One of my favorite, grab-and-go cafeteria lunches throughout college was a chicken salad-stuffed tomato. Yes, yes such retro fare — see the photos from a couple of my vintage cookbooks below — but don’t let that deter you; they are most delectable when made with perfectly ripened, sweet summer tomatoes.
More often than not, I’ve run across mayonnaise-laden chicken salad which can be kind of gloppy¹. Instead, I use sour cream, which lends the same creaminess and moisture of the oil-based spread and — dare I say — is an even better flavor pairing with the chicken. As for light versus full fat and conventional versus organic, I prefer the latter of the two, hands down. Full fat is far less sweet and organic typically contains just milk, cream and cultures — in other words, a much shorter ingredients list absent of added gums, etc.. (Straus Family Creamery and Trader Joe’s both make great organic, full-fat options.)
Hope you enjoy this edition of the throwback lunch hour!
Chicken Salad-stuffed Tomatoes
Preparation Time: 10 – 15 minutes (not including chicken)
Serves: 2 – 3
- 60 grams (1/4 cup) sour cream, plus more to taste
- 14 grams (1 tablespoon) lemon juice
- 28 grams (2 tablespoons) minced shallot
- 57 grams (1/4 cup) finely chopped celery
- 1/8 teaspoon whole celery seed
- 1/8 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 170 grams (6 ounces or about 1 1/2 cups) cooked chicken, chop into 1/4″ cubes
Tomatoes and garnish:
- 2 – 3 medium-size tomatoes
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Chopped chives and assorted salad greens for garnish (optional)
Make chicken salad:
In a small mixing bowl, stir together sour cream through 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt. Fold in cubed chicken; season to taste. Proceed immediately or cover and refrigerate for several hours, or overnight (if overnight, you may need or want to stir in another tablespoon or so of sour cream to freshen it up).
Prepare tomatoes and serve:
Just before serving, slice off the top 1/4 – 1/3 of each tomato. Spoon out seeds and other innards, leaving you with a hollow tomato bowl. (If desired, reserve both tomato top and inside parts for another use — both are good chopped and stirred into guacamole.) Pat the insides dry, then sprinkle each with a small pinch of salt and pepper. Scoop chicken salad into each — packing and/or heaping it as much or as little as you want! Garnish with chives and salad greens (if using), and serve immediately.