Monday, November 17, 2008

Summer Salad in November

The recent heat wave in San Francisco was brutally lovely. All I wanted to do was pour some sparkling white wine and work on my summer tan. Unfortunately, I have been under some of the most insane pressure at work: constantly re-evaluating properties and scrutinizing cash flows. So, Chinese Chicken Salad would have to do for my November, Summer-time fling.

A couple weeks ago I bought some cilantro, and the bunch has surprisingly held out this long for inspiration to hit. This recipe has come together through research in my cookbook collection and personal Chinese Chicken Salad experience. I'm a firm believer that to be a true chef you always have to be thinking: "Anything you can do I can do better." So stands true for this busy girl's take on the classic Chinese Chicken Salad!

This salad is somewhat fussy, but well worth the gathering of ingredients and follow-through of each step. Make sure you have some time on your hands, or an itch to cook for a couple of hours after work. First and foremost, think color! When I chose my ingredients I tried to vary the colors. At Tuesday's Farmer's Market I came across a pomegranate, green onions, daikon sprouts & carrots. Consider this a summer salad with a fall produce flare. Secondly, chicken with the bone in and skin on gives the best flavor, although I used quick chicken breast from Mr. Trader Joe. Don't forget the orange juice and ginger, as those are two key ingredients that will set this salad above the rest!

Chinese Chicken Salad
3 Cups Shredded Chicken
1/4 C Light Soy Sauce
1 tsp Rice Vinegar
1 tbsp Agave Nectar

For the Salad:
Couple hand fulls of Daikon Sprouts
2 Cups shredded Cabbage (Napa Cabbage works as well)
1 Bunch of chopped Green Onions
1/2 Cup chopped Cilantro
1/2 Cup Carrot sliced in thin matchsticks
Pomegranate Seeds
1 Cup Roasted Unsalted Peanuts

Dressing:
1/2 C Sesame Oil
2 tbsp Rice Vinegar
3 tsp Orange Juice
1 tsp Agave Nectar (or honey)
1/2 tsp Red Chili Flakes
3 pinches sea salt
1 tbsp chopped Ginger
1 Clove Garlic chopped up

Poach the chicken and shred. In a bowl combine chicken, soy sauce, vinegar and agave. Marinate for a couple minutes, drain and throw chicken back in a pan. Cook over medium heat for a couple minutes. Put to the side.

Slice the pomegranate in half and let soak in a bowl of water. This makes it easier to release the pomegranate seeds from the pulp.

In a large bowl, place the chopped green onions, cilantro, cabbage, daikon sprouts and carrot. In another smaller bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. Combine chicken in the bowl with the greens. Add peanuts and pomegranate seeds. Toss in dressing when you are ready to serve the salad. Top off with some chopped peanuts and pomegranate seeds.

2 comments:

Michael said...

Have you even been to work in the last 2 weeks?

Lisa Engel said...

Real funny Mike... I think you have a case of the Mondays and it's only Sunday. See you on Sametime tomorrow!