There was a lady on the train last night that barged on and she just looked so mean. Her eyebrows slanted down as if she were an evil villain in a cartoon, and as I kept sneaking glances, I realized the permanence of her expression, her pout, her glare, and I wondered instantly what had happened to her that made her come across as so mean, so wicked old witch. Perhaps it was just bitch resting face, but for one who is often accused of having the same, it was a good reminder to not only be kind, but maybe make more of an effort to look it as well, lest I be stuck with an unsightly grimace forever (though i know that looks aren’t everything blah blah blah).
Maybe this be a good reminder for you all. To be kind. And to eat more greens.
That was a rocky transition but I stand by both points, and it brings me to this salad. We’ve got another one coming at you in a few days, but this one is inspired by the Chinese Ginger Chicken Salad that won the show at Myers & Chang last week in Boston. Despite all the other goodies we got, Peaches and I agreed that this one was the star. Tasting like something I had made before but couldn’t put my finger on, I dug back into the archives in the larb from Laos. Simple but flavorful, I used that as a base to season some ground chicken. I set mine atop rice noodle and dressed it with a very simple yet versatile lime vinaigrette, and dandelion greens to make it seasonal. And don’t forget toasted peanuts for crunch and happiness.
About the vinaigrette: Back in 2005 when Yam and I were Katrina refugees in D.C., we lived with a delightful family in the Friendship Heights area. Besides their limitless kindness, I never forgot Mrs. K’s recipe for a simple, basic dressing that goes with literally everything: equal parts sugar, vegetable oil and white vinegar. Shake it up and use as you will. I used that as a base for both today’s salad and the one coming later this week. For this, we add some lime to complement the flavors of the chicken and the whole thing works splendidly.
If I say so myself.
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup light flavored oil, such as veg or canola
- 1/3 cup white vinegar
- Put all the ingredients into a jar and give it a good shake. Serve with any salad.
- 1 pound ground chicken breast or thighs (go with thighs!)
- 2 shallots, sliced in rounds
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- 1 hot chili pepper, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 TB fish sauce, or more to taste
- 1/2 lime, juiced (about 1 TB)
- 3 TB basic vinaigrette
- 2 TB fresh lime juice
- 1/2 pound thin rice noodles, cooked
- 4 cups dandelion greens (or other spicy green like arugula), julienne
- 2 TB fresh mint, cut into ribbons
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro. chopped
- 1/4 cup salted peanuts, roasted and chopped
- Heat one tablespoon of oil in a frying pan, then add the shallots, garlic, and chili peppers. When they have browned, add the chicken, sugar, ginger and fish sauce.
- Once the chicken has cooked through (about 10 minutes), add the lime juice and adjust the seasonings. It should be well seasoned and richly flavored. Set aside to cool.
- Make the dressing by mixing the vinegar mixture with the lime juice. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add the greens, mint and cilantro. Mix well.
- Assemble the salad by placing 1/8 of the greens into each of four bowls. Divide the noodles into the same 4 bowls, and then layer on the chicken, 1/4 of the recipe into each. Add the remaining greens on top of the chicken layer, drizzle with the desired amount of dressing, and garnish with the toasted peanuts.
Written after some ping pong fun at Spin