Add Blue Cheese To Give Your Chicken Salad A Tangy Flavor Kick

Chicken salad is classic. Whether scooped into sandwiches, wrapped in lettuce cups, or served with crackers, it never seems to disappoint — even when prepared at its most basic with chicken and mayonnaise. However, because variety is the spice of life, it's definitely worthwhile to incorporate a few other ingredients to make the meal really pop. That said, despite that adding a spoonful of dijon, a handful of tarragon, or chopped walnuts can give a simple chicken salad some oomph, we recommend going a step further and crumbling in blue cheese.

From golden Shropshire Blue to earthy Bleu Bénédictin to crumbly Maytag Blue, no two blues are the same. But, they do share a few common traits such as being deliberately inoculated with penicillium roqueforti. These indigo-veined cheeses also tend to have a very distinct and pungent profile. Funky and sharp, the creamy cheeses are rich with flavor, making them ideal to work into any recipe, including chicken salad.

When it comes to adding blue cheese to chicken salad, you have options. Most obviously, you can crumble in bits of blue. Just remember to combine them carefully so that they don't totally disappear. Likewise, you can also add blue cheese directly into the dressing. Either swap out the mayonnaise base for blue cheese dressing or work with a combination of the two ingredients. Otherwise, for maximum intensity, you could blend the two options, using dressing and crumbles to intensify your chicken salad.

The best blues and how to use them

Although you might consider blue cheese an acquired taste, we're believers that with the right variety, anyone can become a fan; finding the perfect fit is simply a matter of tasting different kinds. Unsure where to start? A mellow Cambozola or nutty Gorgonzola are great options to begin exploring. Should you want something a touch zestier, then go for Stilton. For especially bold blues, instead try a tangy Roquefort or salty Cabrales. 

You can make blue cheese the focal point of your chicken salad, but since it packs such a punch and balances the richness of the mayonnaise, we recommend working in a few extras to balance flavors. For instance, sweet ingredients like grape halves, pear chunks, dried cranberries, candied pecans, caramelized onions, or a drizzle of honey can all neutralize the cheese's intensity. Alternatively, seeing as blue cheese can also be fairly decadent, you could mix in slightly bitter ingredients like shredded endive or chopped celery for more complexity.

Giving chicken salad another dimension of flavor and texture, adding blue cheese is always a good idea. The results will remain just as luxuriously creamy and satisfyingly comforting as a basic recipe, the only difference is that tangy inclusion will surprise taste buds with a delightful zing.