sesame chicken salad

Crack Salad. seriously.

This next recipe is seriously deserving of a spotlight - super simple, and CRAZY DELICIOUS (like Mr. Pibb+Red Vine). Last year, I made this as family meal for my staff in California and they basically lost their minds.  

I pretty much grew up eating this - I remember a bowl of it in the fridge on a fairly regular basis, and my father basically devoured it.  I was so intent on eating it as a child, that I tried to recreate it myself one day when I had a bit of a craving.  As a six year old, I was obviously confused, and didn't understand "ingredients" or "various flavors" - I just thought these were peanut butter noodles (sesame...peanut butter...same thing to a child, and granted it does have a nut butter of sorts in it??)

Needless to say, I was already lazy as a six year old, and thought it would be a GRAND idea to open a can of Spaghetti-O's (or as I liked to call them, Pasketi-O's, obviously my favorite) and simply RINSE them off.  Already making poor life decisions at such a young age...what a shame! Once I had them rinsed and drained, I plopped on a bit of peanut butter and....wait? Why is this not smooth and easy to mix like MOM'S salad!? Well, I'm an idiot, but fortunately, this child learned how to make this salad in due time:

Sesame Chicken Salad
Serves 6
4 Chicken breasts, cooked, cooled, and shredded
1/2 lb. asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
Bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 2 in matchsticks
2 scallions, sliced on the diagonal

friends invited to the party
1/2 c olive oil
2 T apple cider vinegar (or any vinegar really)
3 T soy sauce/shoyu
1.5 T sesame oil
1/5 T honey
1 minced garlic clove
1 tsp finely grated/minced ginger
1 T sesame seeds
1/4 c peanut butter or almond butter
2 scallions, sliced on the diagonal
Salt and pepper to taste

dressing components & random buckwheat noodles

For the dressing, simply combine all the ingredients and WHISK away! Taste for seasoning and add as much salt and pepper as you deem necessary.

For the chicken, you can either grill, roast, broil, or even use left-over chicken.  I broiled mine for this recipe (since I don't have a grill and it's the closest thing to it!).  When I cook chicken breast, I use a meat pounder to make the thickness of the breast the same all over so it cooks evenly - for most chicken breasts, it really only takes about five minutes a side to cook on high heat.  You can double check by cutting into the thickest part and making sure there's no visible pink. Once they're done, let them sit for a while so the juices can redistribute throughout the meat.

While the chicken is cooling, or even while its cooking, you can prepare the asparagus for blanching.  Bring a large pot of water to boil.  While you're waiting (don't watch it, seriously it'll take longer), prepare the asparagus by snapping off the woody ends - do this just be standing each stalk upright, holding onto the base, and bending the asparagus from the top - it will snap at the perfect juncture!). From there, cut each into two inch pieces.  Once the water comes to a boil, throw your lil aspara-guys into the pot and cook for only a minute or two, until they are crisp-tender. Quickly (you only have a minute!) fill a bowl with ice cubes and water, to shock the asparagus once it's done - this will stop the cooking AND preserve the bright green color of the veg.

*Side note: I usually just have the vegetables and chicken in this salad, but today I decided to add in some buckwheat noodles. These are simple enough - just throw them into a pot of boiling water, bring back to a boil, and simmer for 5-6 minutes.  Drain, rinse, drain again and you're set! I also obviously used baby bok choy because I had it on hand. Honestly, you can use anything you want in this really - it will turn out delicious no matter what!

Once everything is ready, mix ALL of it together in a giant bowl - I suggest putting the components in one by one, and adding a bit of dressing so you really get it distributed evenly.  Once it's all in the bowl, it's time to get down and dirty, and dig in with your paws! It's much easier this way and you'll most definitely get some dressing on each and every piece. Finish off with a little sea salt and fresh ground pepper, and you're ready to taste. I DARE you to just take one taste. Seriously. Five dollars.

Sure don't look like spaghetti-os to me!
 Needless to say, I cannot wait for lunch tomorrow. The Waldorf employee "lounge" ain't got NOTHIN' on me!


margaret said…
Can't wait to make it!!!!

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