Two Years Ago: Chocolate Honey Almond Tartlets
Pretty much everyone likes Chinese Chicken Salad, and there are a million recipes out there. What makes this recipe a little unusual is the addition of kale and the red chile peanut dressing, courtesy of Chef Bobby Flay. Don't be scared by the red chile part - there are only 2 teaspoons of chipotle pepper puree which gives a tiny bit of kick. The dressing is actually quite delicate with a hint of peanut butter, and very good.
Those aren't red jalapenos, they're actually the little mini bell peppers that come in a bag. But you could certainly add red jalapenos (also called Fresno peppers) for a little extra spice.
I personally like Chinese Chicken Salad with a small amount of pasta added, but it's up to you to add it or leave it out. The salad requires quite a bit of prep between making the dressing and chopping all the ingredients, so if you want to do some of it ahead of time you could make the dressing and chop all the ingredients (except the herbs, they wilt fairly quickly). Put the cabbage, kale, carrots, snow peas and green onions in a big bowl and place in the refrigerator, covered. Shred the chicken and put it in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator. Leave the peanuts out on the counter. Then all you have to do at the last minute is cook the pasta, chop the herbs, toss the salad with the dressing, and serve. The reason why I don't recommend cooking the spaghetti in advance is because it clumps together in a big ball if you leave it too long after draining. If you really want to cook it in advance, add a teaspoon or so of oil to the spaghetti and toss it around to make sure everything is coated, then refrigerate.
Chinese Chicken Salad is a healthy and popular choice for a light dinner on a warm day.
Chinese Chicken Salad with Red Chile Peanut Dressing
For the dressing:
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons chipotle pepper puree (from a can of chipotles in adobo)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
½ cup canola oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the salad:
½ large head Napa cabbage, shredded
7-8 leaves Tuscan kale, stripped off steams and thinly sliced into ribbons
2 carrots, coarsely shredded or julienned
¼ lb snow peas, trimmed and each cut into 3-4 pieces on a diagonal
½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
¼ cup thinly sliced green onion
4 ounces spaghetti, cooked, rinsed in cold water and drained
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken or turkey
½ cup chopped roasted peanuts
¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
Combine all dressing ingredients by whisking in a bowl or shaking in a jar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Combine cabbage, kale, carrots, snow peas, red bell pepper, cilantro, green onion and spaghetti in a large bowl. Add dressing gradually, tossing until everything is adequately coated to your liking (some dressing may be left over to pass at the table).
Transfer the salad to a serving bowl and top with the shredded chicken, peanuts, and mint.