Sunday, June 26, 2011

Peanut Chicken Salad

Continuing with the summer food kick, I thought it would be a good idea to try out this chicken salad. This was another recommendation from my sister, and turned out to be a great summer dinner. It is nothing like a traditional salad, but I can't think of a better way to describe it. This salad is very filling since it's made up of mainly chicken, red peppers, and asparagus and can stand on it's own as a dinner meal.

I didn't have any sesame seeds around when I made this and did not feel like anything was missing. If you can't find split chicken breasts, you can use chicken thighs or regular chicken breast. I am also guessing that shredding a rotisserie chicken would be the easy way of making this dish. You can add a few extra vegetables to this without taking away from the flavor of the dressing. For example, adding another pepper or throwing in some sugar snap peas would be great additions to this salad.

Recipe from Ina Garten
Served 4 to 6 as a main

4 split chicken breasts (bone-in, skin-on)
2 tablespoons olive oil (you can use more or less if you want)
salt and pepper
1 pound asparagus ends trimmed, and cut in thirds
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded
3 scallions, sliced
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted (optional)

For the Dressing:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup good apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ginger, gated
1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted (optional)
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon salt (alter this to your taste preferences)
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat your oven to 350ºF/176ºC.

Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked.

In the meantime, blanch the asparagus in boiling water for about 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp-tender. Place in ice water to stop the cooking process once it is blanched (or hold it under cold running water). Drain the asparagus and place them in a large bowl. Cut the red peppers so they are a similar size to the asparagus, or just into large bite sized chunks. Add to the bowl with the asparagus.

To make the dressing, whisk all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside or chill until you need it.

Once the chicken is done cooking, discard the chicken skin (or save it for another project). Remove the meat from the bones and cut into large bite sized pieces. Add to the bowl with vegetables.

Add the dressing, scallions and sesame seeds to the bowl and mix everything together. This can be eaten warm, at room temperature, or cold.

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