I've tested every conceivable way to cook chicken for chicken salad, and this method wins hands-down. I oven-roast bone in chicken breasts for 35 to 40 minutes, then shred the meat to make the salad. It's moist and flavorful and really absorbs the sauce. This Chinese chicken salad has peanut butter in the dressing to give the flavor depth.
8 split chicken breasts (bone in, skin on)
Good olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound asparagus, ends removed,
cut into thirds diagonally
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
4 scallions (white and green parts), sliced diagonally
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds, toasted (see Note)
For the Dressing
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup good apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted (see Note)
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and shred the chicken in large, bite-sized pieces.
Blanch the asparagus in a pot of boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp-tender. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain. Cut the peppers into strips about the size of the asparagus pieces. Combine the shredded chicken, asparagus, and peppers in a large bowl.
Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the chicken and vegetables. Add the scallions and sesame seeds and season to taste. Serve cold or at room temperature.
To toast sesame seeds, place them in a dry saté pan and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until browned.
Barefoot Contessa Parties!
By Ina Garten
Clarkson Potter/Publishers, April 2001
264 pages, color photographs throughout
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created June 2001
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