Asian Chicken Salad
Well, it’s been a whirlwind past week for us — we had a lovely visit with my parents for a few days, and following that, B and I took a little “mini-vacation” in Manhattan. Lots of fun and LOTS of good food — I can’t wait to tell you about where we ate! (Though, I’m sorry, I’m going to have to leave it at that tease for now…we just got back last night and I need a few days to settle in and sort through my photos before I can get a post up about it!)
This salad made an appearance twice over the past week (which is saying a lot for me.) I love the sesame-soy dressing, and it was the perfect way to use the beautiful heads of Napa cabbage and Romaine lettuce we got in our share last week. The first time I made it, I poached and shredded some chicken to serve with it; the second time I made it, I grilled up two boneless pork chops and thinly sliced them. I can’t decide which way I like better! Tucked in between the cabbage and lettuce, there are some bright green, sweet, blanched sugar snap peas from our farmer’s market, along with a few thinly sliced radishes I still had in the fridge. Also, I tossed in some of the herbs I have growing in my garden — cilantro, basil, mint and shiso. To top it all off, there are coarsely chopped roasted almonds on top.
This is one of my perfect summer dinners: cool, crisp, crunchy, super flavorful, but light enough to leave room in your belly for some homemade ice cream (though I have to say, that’s never a problem for me…I seem to have a separate stomach where there’s always room for ice cream!) And speaking of ice cream, we followed this salad when my parents were visiting with some toasted almond, cherry & chocolate chunk ice cream from — where else? — The Perfect Scoop. And sadly, I did not get any pictures of it before it was wolfed down. I know, I know; salads don’t really compare to homemade ice cream. But really, I promise, this one’s a good one!
(Click through for the recipe)
Asian Chicken Salad
Adapted from Gourmet, June 2006
2 pints sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 medium head Napa cabbage, cored, then thinly sliced crosswise into ribbons
1 medium head of romaine, torn into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1/4 cup canola oil
shredded cooked chicken (about 1/2 to 1 cup per person)
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs — I use cilantro, basil, mint, shiso; if you’re going to use one, use cilantro
1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
Whisk together the soy sauce, lemon or lime juice, honey, rice vinegar, salt, black pepper, sesame oil, and canola oil. Set aside.
Cook sugar snap peas in a pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 1 1/2 minutes. Drain and transfer immediately to a bowl of ice water, to stop the cooking process and preserve their bright green color. When they’re cool enough to handle, remove them from the ice water and chop them into 1-inch pieces.
Combine the shredded chicken and chopped scallions in a medium bowl. Toss them with 1/3 cup of the dressing to coat and set aside.
In a large bowl, toss together the Napa cabbage, Romaine lettuce, sugar snap peas, and chopped herbs. Add the chicken and scallion mixture, then drizzle the rest of the dressing over the entire bowl and toss to combine.
Serve topped with the toasted sesame seeds and chopped toasted almonds.
Makes 4 (large) or 6 main-course salads.