Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Recipe 3: Vietnamese Chicken Salad

Readers, due to technical difficulties, I was not able to import pictures! Sorry, hopefully I can get it straightened out before next post! Continue reading.

This recipe might seem like an "out of the ordinary" pick for me, and that is just what it is. I chose this because I have never had anything Vietnamese and I wanted to take a trip out of my comfort zone. The ingredient list contained a lot of things that I did not own, so yet again the shopping list was a bit intense. This recipe struck me as a nice and light choice. I thought this would be good after a work out or before an afternoon outside. So here it goes!

Vietnamese Chicken Salad
Williams-Sonoma, Simple Suppers 2006

Pan-Seared Chicken (listed earlier in the cookbook, but you can use a rotisserie chicken or seared chicken breast)
1 Large Lime
Peanut oil- 6 tablespoons
Asian fish sauce- 2 tablespoons
Sugar- 1 tablespoon
Napa cabbage- 2 cups finely shredded
Green onions- 4 thinly sliced
Fresh cilantro- 1/4 cup
Roasted peanuts- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped

Make the vinaigrette- Grate 1 teaspoon zest and squeeze 2 tablespoons juice from the lime into a small bowl. Add the oil, fish sauce, and sugar-whisk together.

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, cabbage, green onions and cilantro. Toss. Drizzle on vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide among plates and top with peanuts.

This recipe was not quite what I had hoped for. There was nothing special about this vinaigrette and there was nothing special about the pan seared chicken. I am not saying that is was a bad recipe, but to me it fell short of what I had thought it would be.

There are a few points to take from this recipe, however. First off, fish sauce can be a great ingredient when used in moderation. Don't be turned off by the pungent fish smell it gives off. The salty taste is great in the dressing and can be used in a variety of dishes that can be made in the future.

Next up, the textures of the salad were delightful. The crunch of the peanuts coupled with the soft chicken and firm cabbage was great. I would love to try a different dressing on this same salad to see what happens.

All in all, this recipe didn't have the wow factor I was looking for. The dressing was a bit more full flavored than I had expected and the chicken, was well, chicken. I do believe with a bit of creative tweaking and some rearranging of items, I would be able to rework this recipe into something that would be a bit more palate pleasing. Although this recipe was kind of a bummer, I am super excited for the next recipe I am trying. That shall be coming up later this week!

Adios Amigos!


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