Chinese Chicken Salad with Hoisin Vinaigrette

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What do you think of when you hear or read the word 'salad'? Appetizer, breakfast, light lunch, dinner, first course, fruit, vegetable, meat, protein, grain, pasta, leafy green, etc...? My husband and I recently had a conversation about the word 'salad'.  I asked, "I wonder what the origin of the word 'salad' is. I'm thinking French." He responded, "I wonder what the etymology of the word 'salad' is." That became quite the lengthy discussion and study session, as well as, me buying the book Acetaria- A Discourse of Sallets by John Evelyn, Esq. (If you can read Old English, you'll love the book. I just skipped to the appendix where he shared his recipes.)  Search the word 'salad' on your device and see what you come up with.  It's quite interesting.

Back to my initial question and my response to that question, a salad can be anything. That is my modern day take on the word and this is my take on a Chinese Chicken Salad.  

I could literally eat this for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even a bite for a snack.  Chicken and a mixture of vegetables always gets a thumbs up from me.  And the hoisin vinaigrette just makes it all that much better.

Stay the course for my next recipe (pun intended).

Chinese Chicken Salad with Hoisin Vinaigrette
serves 4-6

4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 Tablespoons neutral oil (I use Safflower), divided
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1-2 teaspoons Sriracha, or to taste (optional)
1/2 medium or 1 small head Savoy cabbage, shredded (4 cups)
1 red bell pepper, cored and julienned
1 (6-ounce) package snow peas, strings removed and julienned (1-1/2 cups)
2 scallions, sliced thin
1 cup chow mein noodles

Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add chicken and cook until browned on one side, about 3 minutes.  Flip the chicken over, add water, and cover.  Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook until the thickest part of the breast registers 160° F on an instant- read thermometer, 5-7 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to a carving board and cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil, vinegar, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger and Sriracha; set aside.

Using two forks, shred cooled chicken. Toss together cabbage, red pepper, snow peas and scallions; add shredded chicken. Add vinaigrette and toss until combined.  Serve with chow mien noodles.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from The Best 30-Minute Recipe, America's Test Kitchen


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