The other day I was drawing a blank for ideas of what to do with a couple of boring ol’ chicken breasts for dinner. I had it in my mind to do something with them to place on a salad, but what? I was looking for inspiration, and so started to search some of my favorite food blogs for help. This is when Jaden of Steamy Kitchen http://steamykitchen.com/blog/ came to my rescue! Among her many wonderful recipes is a recipe for a Chinese Chicken Salad. This became the basis for this recipe. I modified it to include the ingredients I had on hand (I added radishes, eliminated snow peas…although if I had them, I would have gladly included them!), added cilantro (because I love the way cilantro plays against the sweet/spicy flavors) and changed up the dressing a bit to give it a little heat. This salad is a wonderful weeknight dinner, as it came together quickly, didn’t create a lot of dirty dishes (a definite bonus in my book!), and oh, by the way, it was delicious! It definitely turned “boring ol’ chicken breasts” into something we were glad to enjoy!
1 t salt
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 head red leaf lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 carrot, julienned
3 radishes, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
1 orange, segmented (save remaining part for dressing)
1 T coarsely chopped cilantro
5 T honey
½ c mayonnaise
1 T coarse ground mustard
½ t soy sauce or tamari
½ t sambal oelek (garlic chili paste)
Juice from the remaining part of segmented orange
½ t toasted sesame oil
3 T rice wine vinegar
Oil, such as canola oil, for frying
5-6 small wonton sheets, cut into strips
Place enough water in a medium saucepan to poach the chicken breasts. Add salt to water, and bring to a boil. Add chicken breasts, return to a boil, and reduce to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken breasts and let cool enough to handle. Tear chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. (You can even save the water for the beginnings of a soup or for cooking pasta!) You can also substitute leftover cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken for the poached chicken breasts.
While the chicken is poaching, prepare your dressing. Whisk together honey, mayonnaise, mustard, soy sauce, sambal oelek, and orange juice. Then whisk in oil and vinegar. Set aside.
In a large frying pan, pour enough oil to come up to the sides of the pan about 1 inch. Bring oil to 375 degrees. Place wonton strips in oil and fry until golden, about 30-45 seconds. Remove with slotted spoon or tongs and let drain on paper towels.
To assemble salads: Divide lettuce, carrots, radishes, cucumber, and orange segments among plates. Sprinkle cilantro over each. Drizzle dressing over salad, and add chicken breast pieces to each. Top with wonton strips and serve.
Serves 2 as main course or 4 as appetizer.