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Nik Sharma's Crème Fraîche Chicken Salad

Nik Sharma’s Crème Fraîche Chicken Salad

Renée Robinson

A Very Different Take on a Classic.

When I roast a chicken, we always eat the dark meat first and save the breast meat for another meal. This is one of my favorite ways to eat the white meat. I’ve been singing Nik Sharma’s praises for quite awhile and this recipe is a perfect showcase of his talents. As you will see in the recipe, which I will include with permission from both Nik and Chronicle Books, he provides instructions for cooking a couple of chicken breasts. I simply use the leftover cooked chicken breast. I also end up with a lot more chicken than he calls for in his recipe (about 3 times more than the recipe specifies), but I don’t have to change anything else. There is plenty of dressing for my amount of chicken. 

This chicken salad is like no other I’ve ever tasted. First of all, it includes both creme fraiche and plain Greek yogurt. These are the perfect vehicle for all the other ingredients. There’s lemon juice, a little molasses, cayenne pepper, and chopped cashews, among other things. One of the unusual and especially welcome additions is dried blueberries. Another is minced greens from the tops of carrots and celeriac. I don’t usually have celeriac greens available, so I either double up on the carrot top greens or simply add plenty of chopped parsley. I do add a half teaspoon of celery seeds because I think the flavor is great in this.

He also uses anardana seeds, which I’ve been mentioning lately. I am nuts about the flavor of these seeds. They’re worth ordering online if you don’t have access to them locally. Their tart, but sweet flavor is welcome in a lot of recipes. Nik calls for 2 tablespoons of minced shallots, but I use double that amount, simply because I really like a lot of shallots in this. 

Toasted and buttered bread with garlic

Last, but not least, he recommends serving this on toasted sourdough bread which has been buttered and then smeared with roasted garlic cloves. I use the bread I posted recently, which I bake and always have on hand. I wish I could adequately describe how delicious all these combinations of flavors and textures  are. I make up a batch of this and eat it for several meals. I never tire of it. I like it so much more than mayonnaise based chicken salads. This never gets greasy or slick in texture. It stays creamy and fresh tasting for several days. 

Nik’s ability to combine unexpected flavors and come out with something exquisite never comes into question for me. He’s right up there with the greats. And he’s also a very nice guy. When I contacted him and asked for permission to share this recipe, he couldn’t have been more gracious or lovely. Yeah, I’m a huge fan. 

Nik Sharma's Crème Fraîche Chicken Salad

Recipe by Renée Robinson



Chicken Salad with Crème Fraîche, Dried Blueberries, and Cashews.

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  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (12 oz. or 340g total) I used 3 times the amount of leftover chicken breast.

  • Salt and ground white pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon anardana (whole pomegranate seeds)

  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds

  • 1 cup (200 g)Kefir Crème Fraîche - this is simply crème fraîche made with kefir rather than buttermilk. Either variation works here.

  • 1 cup (240 g) plain Greek yogurt

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon unsulphured molasses

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 cup (70 g) chopped cashews

  • 2 tablespoons dried blueberries - I doubled this amount.

  • 1 Thai chile, seeded, if desired, and minced

  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot - I doubled this amount.

  • 2 tablespoons julienned celeriac greens

  • 2 tablespoons julienned carrot greens

  • 8 slices sourdough bread, toasted, for serving

  • Frank’s hot sauce, Tabasco, or your favorite hot sauce for serving (optional)

  • Roasted garlic, for smearing on the toasted buttered bread


  • Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels and season them on both sides with salt and pepper. Cook the chicken until evenly browned and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate or cutting board, cover, and cool completely. Cut the chicken into 1/2 inch cubes and set aside. (You can cook the chicken up to 1 day ahead and store covered, in the refrigerator.)
  • Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Toast the anardana and coriander seeds until fragrant, swirling the spices occasionally so they toast evenly, 30 to 45 seconds. Remove from the heat, transfer to a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, and grind to a coarse powder. Transfer to a large bowl and add the creme fraiche, yogurt, lemon juice, molasses, cayenne, and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper. Whisk to combine. Fold in the chicken, cashews, blueberries, Thai chile, shallot, celeriac and carrot greens, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Serve with the toasted bread and hot sauce, if desired, on the side. *See note.


  • *Reprinted with permission from Nik Sharma and Chronicle Books

2 Responses

    1. Donna, it truly is delicious. I hope you give it a try. Be sure and let me know what you think. Thank you!

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