How’s it going y’all?
If you’re on my side of the planet, then the answer to that is probably…kinda hot.
Like, really really REALLY hot. I was recently back in Michigan for a visit and the heat combined with humidity there was just unbearable. We get heat here, but because we’re in a desert valley, it’s really dry heat. The air back in the Mitten felt so noticeably wet. I’d forgotten how wet the air is there in the summer time. My hair was as unprepared as can be. Thankfully, we’re back now. But it’s still hot.
Not a lot of people out here have air conditioning, and in this type of heat the thought of turning on the oven to cook while not having A/C is just unbearable. So aside from take out, the solution to preparing food would be to opt for meals and recipes that don’t require any stove or oven so that your kitchen doesn’t turn into anymore of a sauna than it may be already. Today’s recipe is one of those meals.
The inspiration for this came from a post a few weeks back–this Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette Chicken Salad I did, where I took rotisserie chicken and mixed it with some other fresh ingredients, then tossed the whole thing with a homemade vinaigrette dressing. We really loved it, and before the leftovers were even gone I was thinking about different renditions I could give to the base idea of the recipe. Asian was a direction that I knew I wanted to take and I decided to go ahead and test some things out with it.
The base of the dressing from the first recipe is a whole head of roasted garlic. This time around I decided to use a combination of garlic cloves with fresh ginger root as the base. The ginger cuts the raw flavor of the garlic while lending a spicy sweetness that works. From there, I also added rice wine vinegar, orange juice, soy sauce, sesame oil and brown sugar. It’s going to taste very strong–but keep in mind that rather than being meant to be eaten alone, the dressing is meant to season the salad, where all those assertive flavors are going to be mellowed & balanced out, especially after they’ve had time to marinate.
My mix-ins before were roasted red peppers, yellow onions, baby cucumbers and parsley. This time around I went with shredded carrots, green onions, sauteed cabbage and fresh mint. I also added some dried chow mein noodles for a crunch factor that’s supposed to mimic croutons. If you’d prefer to use different mix-ins than what I did that’s fine but one thing I absolutely insist you DO NOT try and substitute anything else for is the mint–besides the dressing, the mint is my favorite part of the salad. It gives this such a bright, fresh flavor that I don’t think can be replicated with anything else. So don’t skimp or do without it.
Asian Vinaigrette Chicken Salad
Recipe Courtesy of Jess@CookingisMySport
- 1/2 cup whole garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup fresh ginger, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 2 tablespoons Rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/3 cup vegetable or olive oil
- Salt and plenty of Black pepper
- 1 rotisserie chicken, deboned (It should yield 2 1/2-3 cups of shredded chicken)
- About 3/4 cup (a generous handful) of fresh mint, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup of matchstick carrots
- 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
- 3/4 cup of sautéed cabbage
- Dried chow mein noodles, optional
Finely mince the garlic cloves and the fresh ginger. Place the garlic and ginger, as well as the rest of the dressing ingredients into a blender.
Process on high until smooth—taste and adjust for seasoning. If it’s still a little thick you can add a few tablespoons of water to thin it out.
Combine the chicken, mint, carrots, green onions, and cabbage together in a large bowl. Slowly drizzle in about half of the dressing and stir thoroughly to combine. Taste it—if it’s to your satisfaction, you can leave off the rest of the dressing and save it for later, or you can add and stir it into the rest of the salad mixture.
Cover the chicken salad and refrigerate for at least a few hours, but preferably overnight to allow flavors to meld. When ready to serve, sprinkle the chow mein noodles on top as croutons.