A Sarcastic Appetite

Indonesian-Style Salad with Chicken
July 6, 2010, 8:50 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Remember when I moaned about how hot it was a few weeks ago? Well, I was lying and I didn’t even know it. That was nothing. That was a dry run. The temperature hit 100º today at LaGuardia and JFK, and I think with the heat index it was closer to 106º. Honestly, it must have triggered something in my brain because I’ve gone haywire. I’m like a small child: I need to be fed, I need lots of sleep, and I can’t get too hot, otherwise I get cranky. Today I rocked all three. It was terrible.

Dinner tonight was obviously not going to involve any cooking. I found this recipe leafing through Food & Wine in an advertorial section, no less, but it’s really delightful. I made just a couple of changes: I used poached chicken we had lying around in lieu of the shrimp, and messed around with the dressing. Also, in the end, I, er, well….I heated the dressing on the stove instead of whizzing it in the blender. I think it’s much nicer that way, and thankfully I had an ice cold glass of wine to keep me cool for the 5 minutes the stove was on. Phew.

It turns out the salad is really nice, and just the thing for a horrendous night like tonight. It’s the usual vegetative suspects: romaine, scallions, shredded carrots, cucumber and bell pepper – but the warm, slightly spicy dressing does a number on it and I can’t get over how nice freshly chopped basil and cilantro elevates the whole thing. I can’t believe I just wrote “elevates” without being facetious. See? I told you this heat was making me bonkers.

Indonesian-Style Salad with Chicken

Serves 4ish. By F&W‘s Grace Parisi

1 large head of romaine, chopped

1 1/2 c. shredded carrots

1 bell pepper, diced

3 scallions, sliced

1 cucumber, seeded and diced

2 poached chicken breast halves, diced

about 1/2 c. of peanuts, toasted if you’d like

a handful of cilantro and basil each, chopped (don’t chop the basil until you’re ready to serve)

1/4 c. + 2 tbsp. regular creamy peanut butter

1/4 c. + 2 tbsp. unsweetened coconut milk

1 tbsp. Asian fish sauce

2 tsp. sriracha

juice of 1 1/2 limes

1 tsp. light brown sugar

lots of freshly ground pepper and a dash of salt

a few lime wedges for garnish

In a large bowl, combine the romaine, carrots, cucumber, scallions, bell pepper, peanuts, and chicken. In a small saucepan, whisk together the peanut butter, coconut milk, fish sauce, sriracha, lime juice, brown sugar, and salt and pepper. Whisk until combined and heated through; taste and adjust seasoning. Pour over salad; add cilantro and basil, toss to combine, and serve with lime wedges.

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