Weekend Recipe: Chinese Chicken Salad

Photo courtesy of Cook's Country

Chinese Chicken Salad has a similar origin story to the classic Caesar -- both salads were popular in Southern California restaurants and made fashionable by the Hollywood set. Arguably, Chinese Chicken Salad has Madame Wu to thank for its many incarnations found around the country since first appearing on the menu of her trendy Santa Monica restaurant in the 1960s. This recipe from Cook's Country keeps the fixings simple.

Chinese Chicken Salad
Serves 6

You can substitute one clove of minced garlic and ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper for the Asian chili-garlic sauce.

2 oranges
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Asian chili-garlic sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
4 (6- to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
2 romaine lettuce hearts (12 ounces), sliced thin
1/2 small head napa cabbage, cored and sliced thin (6 cups)
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 2-inch-long matchsticks
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup salted dry-roasted peanuts, chopped
6 scallions, sliced thin

Cut thin slice from top and bottom of oranges, then slice off rind and pith. Working over bowl, cut orange segments from thin membrane and transfer segments to second bowl; set aside. Squeeze juice from membrane into first bowl (juice should measure ¼ cup).

Combine orange juice, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, sugar, and chili-garlic sauce in bowl; transfer ½ cup orange juice mixture to 12-inch skillet. Slowly whisk vegetable oil and sesame oil into remaining orange juice mixture to make vinaigrette; set aside.

Bring orange juice mixture in skillet to boil. Add chicken, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until meat registers 160 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking. Transfer chicken to plate and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil pan juices until reduced to 1/4 cup, 1 to 3 minutes; set aside. Using 2 forks, shred chicken into bite-size pieces. Off heat, add chicken, any accumulated juices, and 2 tablespoons vinaigrette to skillet. Toss to coat and let sit for 10 minutes.

Toss romaine, cabbage, bell peppers, cilantro, peanuts, and scallions with remaining vinaigrette in large bowl. Transfer to serving platter and top with chicken and oranges. Serve.

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