Chinois Chicken Salad

Rating:

(1 vote) 5 1

Wolfgang Puck One of my favorite true convenience foods now widely available in markets is the cooked, ready-to-eat rotisserie chicken. Rubbing a whole chicken with seasonings and then cooking it on a slowly turning spit is an excellent way to produce juicy, flavorful meat. Those I've sampled from supermarkets deliver reliably good results, provided that you take some care to select one that seems to have finished cooking fairly recently, looking plump and juicy, with nicely browned skin. A straight-from-the-market rotisserie chicken is perfect for such a salad, as the still-warm meat will soak up the flavors of the Asian-style dressing in a way that cold chicken, the usual staple for salads, cannot.

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Ingredients

  • CHINESE MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE
  • 1/4 C. (60 ml) rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. light sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. dry Chinese or English (Colman's) mustard
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. peanut oil
  • CHICKEN SALAD
  • 2 small heads or 1 medium head napa cabbage
  • 1 small head romaine or iceberg lettuce
  • 10 snow peapods
  • 1 whole cooked hot rotisserie chicken
  • 1 Tbs. black sesame seeds, or white sesame seeds toasted in a dry pan over low heat, stirring continuously, until golden, about 1 minute

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Directions

First, make the Chinese Mustard Vinaigrette: Put the rice vinegar, sesame oil, dry mustard, soy sauce and a little salt and pepper into a blender or a food processor fitted with the stainless-steel blade. Blend or process until smooth. With the machine running, drizzle in the peanut oil to form a thick, smooth dressing. Taste the dressing and adjust the seasonings if necessary with more salt and pepper. Transfer the dressing to a bowl and set aside.Select 4 to 8 nice-looking leaves from the napa cabbage and set them aside to decorate each serving plate. With a sharp knife, cut the remaining napa cabbage leaves crosswise into 1/4-inch (6 mm) julienne strips. Pull away the outer leaves of the romaine or iceberg lettuce to reveal the paler, tender heart. With a sharp knife, cut the lettuce heart crosswise into 1/4-inch (6-mm) strips until you have 1 C. (250 ml) of shreds. With the knife, cut the snow peapods diagonally into 1/4-inch (6-mm) strips.With your fingers, remove the skin from the still-warm rotisserie chicken. Pull off the meat from the breasts, thighs and drumsticks; tear the meat into bite-sized pieces. In a mixing bowl, combine the chicken, shredded cabbage, shredded lettuce and snow peas. Toss with enough of the vinaigrette to coat all the ingredients well. Arrange the whole napa cabbage leaves around the edge of a large serving plate or platter, or on individual serving plates, and mound the salad mixture on top. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve immediately. Serves two as a main course, four to six as an appetizer.

(Chef Wolfgang Puck's new TV series, "Wolfgang Puck's Cooking Class," airs Sundays and Wednesdays on the Food Network. Write Wolfgang Puck in care of Tribune Media Services Inc., 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY. 14207.)

©2004 WOLFGANG PUCK WORLDWIDE, INC.

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