The eggs add moisture to this recipe and allow you to control the amount of mayonnaise to create that “old-fashioned” picnic flavor, creamy and rich.
- 1 quart water
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 stalks celery, cut into 3/4-inch dice
- 1 1/2 cup mayonnaise, or less if desired
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- 3 hard-boiled large eggs
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Place a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat and add the water, chicken breasts, oil, peppercorns, salt, and bay leaf.
- Bring to a simmer, then immediately remove the skillet from the heat.
- Cover and let stand until the chicken is tender, about 12 minutes.
- Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate and let cool.
- Place the celery in a large bowl. Shred the cooled chicken with your fingers or with a fork and add to the celery in the bowl.
- Add the mayonnaise, celery salt, and salt and pepper to taste and toss until evenly coated.
- Crush the hard-boiled eggs with your hands and fold into the salad. Chill the salad and serve in a large bowl.