Just Another Salad Monday
January 23, 2008
Fun’s over, folks. That’s right: after four glorious weeks off from law school, yesterday was my first day back. Really, it’s not so bad. Not nearly as rigorous as I’m sure studying for the bar exam will be. And not even close to as much of a grind as I’m sure firm life will be next fall, when I actually start, you know, working. But, all in all, I had myself a lovely break. I holidayed, baked, pasta-ed, braised, mock-catered, kneaded and pate a choux-ed. Sure, there were a couple missteps. But there were also some second tries that were quite successful.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)
But, now it’s back to reality. And, you know what? That’s okay. I even kind of enjoyed Salad Monday this week. Spurred on by my recent foray into an Asian-influenced slaw, I decided to experiment with Asian flavors in more of a standard salad. I looked at a bunch of recipes and, as seems to increasingly be the case, I didn’t find one that was just right. So, I took my favorite elements from a bunch of the recipes that I’d read and put them together, along with a couple of my own twists, to create a salad that I thought we would love.
After Friday’s Guitar Hero Party (read: sliders, fries & brownies) and Saturday’s much-blogged about Engagement Party (let’s just say that my slice of that coconut cake was really more of a wedge … a hefty wedge), I was in sore need of a salad. This one featured chicken breasts poached in ginger-and-peppercorn-spiked water and shredded, atop crunchy shards of red cabbage, celery, cucumber and carrots. The whole thing was perched on top of a bed of baby spinach and doused in a zingy ginger-soy vinaigrette. Maybe reality’s not so bad.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 cups water
1 one-inch piece of ginger, peeled and smashed
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups red cabbage, sliced in thin ribbons
1 cup carrot, cut in matchstick-sized pieces
1 cup English cucumber, cut in matchstick-sized pieces
1 cup celery, sliced on the diagonal into 1/4-inch slice
3 cups baby spinach
1 tablespoon scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 tablespoon peanuts, chopped
Combine chicken breasts, water, smashed ginger and garlic, and peppercorns in a medium saucepan over medium heat, poaching until the chicken is cooked. Drain the chicken and discard the ginger, garlic and peppercorns. Allow the chicken to cool at least slightly (you can let it cool completely and serve the entire salad cold).
Meanwhile, in the bottom of a large salad bowl, whisk the vinegar, mustard, soy sauce, grated ginger, lime juice and red pepper flakes until combined, to make the vinaigrette. Add the sliced vegetables on top of the vinaigrette.
Shred the cooled, poached chicken, using a fork. Place the shredded chicken atop the sliced vegetables. Toss the vegetables and chicken in the vinaigrette.
Divide the baby spinach between two plates. Top with the dressed vegetables and spinach. Sprinkle the tops of each salad with the scallions and peanuts. Serve.