Healthy Recipe, Poached Ginger Chicken Salad
Chicken salad often conjures images of that ladies’ tearoom standby of yesteryear: compact mounds of blandness bound with mayo, flecked with sweet pickle bits, and perched atop iceberg lettuce leaves.
This modern rendition, adapted from “Salads Are More Than Leaves” by Elena Silcock, radically departs from that stereotype. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are first poached in a ginger-infused bath to juicy perfection, then shredded and combined with a kaleidoscope of crunchy, nutrient-packed vegetables, fresh herbs, and roasted peanuts. All are tossed a tangy dressing enriched with toasted sesame oil and miso, a pungent fermented soybean paste packed with complex flavor and immune-building probiotics.
Miso is now found in the Asian section of most supermarkets, and a versatile condiment to have around for elevating everything from soups to marinades to desserts. RECIPE HERE. Serves 4-6. -- Susan Puckett
· 2 tablespoons white miso paste (or red miso, for
· ¼ cup fresh lime juice
· 2 to 3 teaspoons honey
· 6 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
· Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
· A 2-inch chunk of fresh ginger root, thinly sliced
· 1 chicken bouillon cube (or 1 tablespoon salt)
· 3 skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
· ½ red cabbage, cored and shredded (about 4 to 6 cups)
· 7 ounces sugar snap peas, sliced in ½-inch pieces on the diagonal
· 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced with vegetable peeler in ribbons
· 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
· 1 small bunch cilantro, leaves coarsely chopped (reserve a few stems for garnish)
· 1 cup roasted, salted peanuts
· Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper taste
1. Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the miso paste with the lime juice to combine. Then whisk in the honey and sesame oil until emulsified. Then season to taste with salt and pepper. If not using immediately, store in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate up to a week. Shake well before using.
2. Poach the chicken: Fill a large pot with 6 cups of cold water and add the ginger and bouillon cube or salt. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Stir to dissolve the bouillon cube, if using.
3. Add the chicken and let the water come to a boil again (add a little more water if necessary to completely cover). Then turn off the heat and let stand for about 20 minutes.
4. Test chicken for doneness by slicing into the thickest part of the meat to see if it’s opaque all the way through. Or use a meat thermometer — it will register 165 degrees when done. If it’s not done yet, leave it in the hot water a few more minutes.
5. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon to a plate to cool. If desired, strain the broth and reserve for soup stock or another use.
6. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred with your fingers, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until you’re ready to assemble the salad, up to 2 days in advance.
7. Assemble the salad: In a large salad bowl, combine the shredded cabbage, sugar snap peas, carrot ribbons, scallions, cilantro leaves, and ¾ cup peanuts.
8. Add the shredded carrots and dressing and toss well to coat thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss again.
9. Transfer the salad to a platter or to individual plates and garnish with reserved cilantro sprigs and peanuts.
Susan Puckett is an Atlanta-based food writer and cookbook author.