I have to not so humbly say that I make the best roast chicken I have ever tasted. As such I also don't buy pre-made rotisserie chickens from the store. But late yesterday afternoon after stumbling around the house in a daze from this pain-in-the-ass cold that has had my head in a fog for the last three days, I was half-heartedly leafing through the latest issue of Food and Wine when I noticed this recipe for Chinese chicken salad that called for a 2-1/2 pounds of rotisserie chicken. As good as this recipe looked, roasting my own chicken was about the last thing I was going to drag my ass off the couch to do. So breaking with long held tradition and shattering my personal belief system, I drove to the local QFC where I know they always have a hot case filled with roasted chickens that have been there god knows how long. The girl behind the counter assured me that they make them fresh each day, and these had come off the spit about 45 minutes ago. She seemed too apathetic about her job to worry about lying to me, so with great trepidation I bought the "French Classic" chicken (eschewing the "Traditional Italian" and "Teriyaki Treat" versions). $5.99...on sale...for a whole chicken. That makes up for a lot of shattered belief system. So I took it home, tore it up, whipped this salad together for w and I, and I have to...and hate to....say I may be a convert to the ease of the rotisserie for times when I just need some roast chicken for salads or enchiladas or whatever. I already feel like I'm on a slippery slope down the side of Mt. Easy Prep with this one chicken purchase. But did I mention it was only $5.99??!!
Oh, and the salad was damn good, too. Both w and I were loving its sweetly piquant dressing and the crunch of the veggies, not to mention the, uh, roast chicken. I took recipe author Joanne Chang's and added Napa cabbage, carrots, and cucumber for added texture, which really made it snap. Quick, easy, and delicious...three of my fave descriptors...this has already found a place in our regular rotation.
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Chinese Chicken Salad
adapted from Joanne Chang/Food & Wine Magazine
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon Tabasco
one 1/2" piece of ginger, peeled and minced
one small garlic clove, peeled and minced
one 2-1/2 pound rostisserie chicken, meat shredded and skin and bones saved for stock or discarded
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 cup salted (or unsalted) roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 carrot, cut into 2" matchsticks
1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumber
one small head of romaine lettuce, sliced crossise into 1/2" ribbons
2 cups napa cabbage, sliced crosswise into ribbons
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
lime wedges, for serving
1- In a large bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with 1/4 cup of the vinegar, 3 tablespoons of the sugar and the soy sauce, sesame oil, Tabasco, ginger, and garlic. Add the chicken, scallions, celery, peanuts, cilantro, carrot, and cucumber and toss until coated.
2- In another bowl toss the romaine, cabbage, carrots, and cucumber with the remaining 2 tablespoons of vinegar, 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar, and the olive oil. Spread romaine/cabbage onto four plates and top with the chicken salad. Serve with lime wedges.