Thursday, September 23, 2010

Asian Chicken Salad with Orange-Ginger Dressing


Asian chicken salad has been a favorite of the Grays for a long time now—it’s the only way Chris will accept eating salad as a main course. To ensure that he does, I have to pack it full of hearty, crunchy niblets. It had been awhile since we’d done it, but the real inspiration for this salad was the dressing. It’s JAPANESE RESTAURANT DRESSING. If you eat at Japanese restaurants from time to time, you know exactly what I mean, and you’re wiggling in your seat right now, just like I did when I found the recipe. Oh that gingery, orange loveliness that they drizzle over iceberg lettuce—so deeply flavored! so mysterious! Why is it so hard to find a recipe? I don’t have the answer, but I did come across one that, with a little tweaking, tastes just like the real thing. And I can’t get enough of it. From the list of ingredients it looks a little painstaking, but honestly I didn’t measure anything—I just eyeballed it, tossed it in the food processor and let it blend away.


Lettuce (we had romaine, anything is good)

diced green onion

chopped red pepper

chopped apple (mandarin orange is also good)

julienned carrot

crushed dried ramen noodles

toasted sesame seeds or chopped peanuts

optional (but indisputably divine): chopped fresh basil to garnish


Chop and rinse your lettuce, top it with all of your vegetal additions


Grilled Chicken

Marinate two chicken breasts in a mix of soy sauce, mirin, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, honey, ketchup, and peanut butter. Grill:


Then slice into thin strips:


Place chicken strips on salad, top with crushed ramen noodles, chopped peanuts or toasted sesame seeds, and chopped fresh basil, if you have some on hand.


And then drizzle on this amazing concoction:


1/2 cup minced onion

1/2 cup peanut oil

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4-1/2 C orange juice

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root

2 tablespoons minced celery

2 tablespoons ketchup

4 teaspoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons white sugar

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Puree all ingredients in food processor. This is best if it can sit overnight to let the flavors meld. Strain before serving.

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