Crispy Sesame Asian Chicken Salad with Spinach, Cucumbers and Cilantro

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If you’re looking for a yummy yet simple salad, this is a great one for you. It’s a Tyler Florence recipe, so you know it’s got lots of great flavors going on — this time with an Asian twist with the soy sauce/ginger dressing. The chicken is breaded in panko breadcrumbs versus traditional — I’m a huge fan of these. They have more texture and crunch, and they somehow seem a bit fresher than boxed breadcrumbs. With  fresh cucumbers and cilantro, and some nutty sesame seeds for garnish, this doesn’t take long at all to throw together.

TW’s Tips

  • If you’ll have leftovers, don’t dress the greens — dress them on each plate — so they don’t get soggy on you. Keep the dressing in the fridge and take it out a little before you eat to let it come to room temp.
  • If you want to skip peeling the cucumber, get an English one and you can leave the skin on (it’s not waxy like a regular cucumber).

Enjoy!

Crispy Sesame Asian Chicken Salad with Spinach, Cucumbers and Cilantro

Ingredients

Vinaigrette:

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Salad:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.5 lb), cut crosswise into 1-inch-wide finger strips
  • 1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • A couple good handfuls of stemmed spinach leaves (about 4 cups)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, and cut into thin strips with a vegetable peeler
  • Handful fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds toasted in a dry skillet over low heat, plus extra for garnish
  • Cracked black pepper

Directions

In a bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, ginger, and sugar. Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Put it in another bowl large enough to hold it, pour over half of the vinaigrette and toss. Cover and let the chicken marinate in the fridge for about 2 hours if you have the time, or until you’ve got the rest of the dish ready to go. Set the rest of the vinaigrette aside.

When you’re ready to cook, put the panko and sesame seeds in a shallow platter and season with a little salt and pepper. Mix with your fingers so that the seasoning is incorporated and then taste it – the panko should be well seasoned. Roll the chicken pieces in the seasoned crumbs, patting gently so that the crumbs adhere, until well coated.

Heat 1/3 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Line a platter with paper towels and set that to the side of the stove. Add about half of the chicken pieces to the pan and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy. Remove the chicken to the platter to drain. Do the same to cook the rest of the chicken.

Put the spinach in bowl with the cucumber strips. Add the rest of the vinaigrette and the toasted sesame seeds, season with salt and pepper, and give it a good toss. To serve, divide the chicken strips between four plates. Put a handful of dressed spinach on top, shower with more toasted sesame seeds and cracked black pepper.

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