I first tried Wolfgang Puck’s Chinois Chicken Salad many decades ago and it remains one of my favorites. It’s the perfect choice any time of year, when you want a healthy salad entree with a wonderful combination of flavors and ingredients.
SERVES 4 as appetizers or 2 as entree
Chinese Mustard Vinaigrette
2 teaspoons dry Chinese or English (Coleman’s) mustard
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons light sesame oil
2 tablespoons peanut oil (2-3 for 4 servings)
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1 package wontons
One 3 pound chicken, cavity filled with finely diced celery, carrot, onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
2 small heads, or 1 medium head Napa cabbage
1 cup romaine lettuce, cut into 1/4 inch julienne strips
10 snow peas, cut into 1/4 inch julienne strips
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
Place all the vinaigrette ingredients, except peanut oil, in a blender and blend until smooth.
Add peanut oil slowly and correct the seasonings.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan and baste it with some of the butter. Roast for about 1 1/2 hours, or until just done. (The juices should run clear.)
Baste every 15 or 20 minutes with the butter and the drippings.
Select 4 to 8 nice looking leaves from the Napa cabbage and reserve them. Slice the remaining cabbage into 1/4 inch julienne strips.
Shred the meat from the breasts and thighs of the chicken.
Combine the chicken, cabbage, romaine and snow peas in a bowl and toss with enough vinaigrette to coat the salad nicely.
Fried Wonton Strips
Purchase wonton skins at an Asian market.
Heat peanut oil to 350 degrees and cut the skins to 1/4-in wide.
Sprinkle the strips (to separate) into the hot oil and fry until crisp and golden in color.
Remove to drain onto clean towel and sprinkle lightly with salt. Cool.
Arrange the reserved Napa cabbage leaves around the edge of a large serving plate. Mound the salad in the center and sprinkle it with the sesame seeds. Garnish with fried wonton strips.
“If you haven’t tried Japanese rice wine or sake then this is the perfect time to ask your wine merchant for a recommendation. Serve it either hot or cold in tiny Japanese sake cups.”