05/04/06

Warm Shredded Chicken Salad

Serves 6

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Marinade
1/2 cup dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons peanut oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 recipe Watercress and Avocado Salad (see recipe below)
1/2 cup peanut oil for frying

Trim chicken of any excess fat or sinew. Slice, across the grain, into 3- x 1/2-inch strips. Stir marinade ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add chicken strips and toss to evenly coat. Set aside at room temperature, uncovered, 30 minutes. It’s important not to let marinate any longer, or the acid in the lemon will break down the fibers of the chicken.

Meanwhile arrange Watercress and Avocado Salad on 6 serving plates. Reserve in refrigerator.

To cook chicken, heat a large dry cast-iron skillet, over high heat 3 to 5 minutes. Add and heat peanut oil for frying. Lift chicken strips from marinade, one at a time, and add to pan, standing as far away as possible to avoid splatters. Fry until dark golden brown and crisp, about 1 minute per side. Arrange about 8 hot chicken strips on each salad in a spoke pattern. Serve immediately.

Watercress and Avocado Salad

Serves 6

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 large bunches watercress, stems removed, leaves washed and well dried
2 ripe avocados, halved, seeded, and peeled

Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Tear watercress into bite-sized pieces and toss with dressing. Divide salad among 6 serving plates. Thinly slice avocado halves into strips lengthwise. Garnish center of each salad with avocado and serve.

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