Mustard Chicken Salad

I lived in the Hamptons – not as one who comes out on weekends, or one who lives in a big house. I lived there as a local in a family farmhouse built in the mid-1800s. My husband was the 12th generation born in the Hamptons (my 2 oldest are 13th generation born there and sadly the last) since his family arrived in East Hampton in 1632! Yes, I said 1632!

That being said, we knew other locals; You know the kind: the farmers, the baymen, the people who serve you your food, ring up your purchase, or clean your house. I never normally would have spent money in a fancy high-end deli but we were friends with a girl who worked at one. We’d go visit and she’d give us a great discount on the fresh deli stuff. The place was off of Main Street on Newtown Lane in East Hampton. I think you might know it even if you’ve never been to the Hamptons – it was called the Barefoot Contessa and was owned by Ina Garten.

I admit, I was spoiled! The case was filled with the most amazing salads and pre-made food. The bakery area had those picture perfect cupcakes and breads. Our friend, S, told us something I will ALWAYS remember: “if you get a cupcake, get one that has fluffy frosting and nothing on it (like shredded coconut)” Why you ask? Because if a fly were to land on a gooey, luscious fresh butter cream cupcake, it would stick and they’d have to toss the cupcake. If a fly landed and was feasting on one of her ever so famous coconut dream cupcakes, it could fly off and you’d be none the wiser. I never did buy a cupcake from there.

Just about every time, We’d get at least a small container of her Mustard Chicken Salad. I can still taste that perfection! I downloaded the recipe online from the food network site but I did amend it only because it was going to be for my kids as well. Hers was better but in a different ways – hers was a more sophisticated, hard mustard taste while this is a bit creamier and subtle.

I dont use many cookbooks but I do own 2 from Ina because I can vouch for her food that has actually be made by her hands. I am honored to say I have eaten her food and seen her in person. She ran a great shop and love her story of how she started with a small struggling bakery to where she is today.

Now on to my redone over quite a bit recipe.


1.5 pounds boneless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon olive oil
salt & pepper
3 cups of fresh broccoli florets
1-1/2 cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoons milk
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 pint cherry/grape tomatoes, halved

  1. Clean and cut chicken in to bite-sized pieces.
  2. sprinkle chicken with salt & pepper.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook until the chicken is just cooked.
  4. Add broccoli florets to a large pot of salted water.
  5. Cook for 1 minute (until crisp tender), drain, and place immediately int oa bowl of ice to stop cooking & set the nice bright green color.
  6. Whisk together the may, milk, mustard, tarragon, 1T salt, and 1/2 t black pepper.
  7. Add the sauce to to warm chicken and stir gently.
  8. Add broccoli & tomatoes and mix gently again.
  9. Refrigerate for a few hours so the flavors can mingle.


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