Thursday, June 26, 2008

Family Reunion Salad

This weekend is filled with family, as was last weekend. First is a wedding reception for my nephew Rolf and his bride Wendy and Sunday is the day of our Family Reunion. We need to bring a dish to share and my choice follows:

Szechuan Chicken Salad


2 pounds boneless chicken breasts (3 large breast halves or 4 medium halves)

2 ribs celery, thinly sliced crosswise

12 ounces Napa cabbage, thinly sliced

4 scallions, white part and 1 inch of the green, thinly sliced crosswise

2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 large jalapeño, or 2 small, minced

2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced

1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons ginger, minced

1. Bring 2 quarts salted water to a boil. Add the chicken breasts. Cover, and return the water to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, and let the chicken stand 20 minutes. Strain the chicken, and cool completely. Cut it into 1/2-inch cubes (or shred if using parts on the bone). Or buy a rotisserie chicken and remove the meat.

2. Meanwhile, combine the celery, cabbage, scallions and cilantro in a large mixing bowl. Toss and reserve until ready to use.

3. Whisk the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, pepper and sesame oil in a small bowl. Add the jalapeño and ginger. Season with salt. Let stand 10 minutes.

4. Add the chicken to the reserved vegetables. Toss to combine, and let stand 5 minutes. Drizzle the soy dressing over the salad, and toss. Let the salad stand another 5 minutes. Toss, and serve.

Pair with a chilled white such as Domaine de Pouy 2006 Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gasgogne.

It has a clear, light straw color. The aromas and flavor are lemon-lime and green-apple with a subtle "grassy" character. Mouth-watering acidity joins a taste of lime in a medium-long finish.