Chinese Chicken Salad

Cabbage is not so bad as I once thought it was. In the old days I associated cabbage with either bitter, flavorless steamed cabbage or the salty mayonnaise-drenched concoction that passes for coleslaw in most restaurants. I've come to enjoy it much more in our home preparations, either sauteed, in a more interesting slaw preparation, or in this case, as a base for a salad. And this is a good thing because it comes in abundance in our summer CSA!

Whitney picked up this recipe from Cook's Country, and there's an official video of their prep here. It combines a bunch of my favorite Asian flavors with some chicken to make a nice hearty salad. As long as we have recipes like this, I don't mind having cabbage all season long!

Cook's Country Chinese Chicken Salad from a beautiful mess blog
   This seems to serve 4; we halved the recipe
2 large oranges
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Asian chili-garlic sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
4 (6-8 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
2 romaine lettuce hearts, sliced thin
1/2 small head napa cabbage, cored and shredded (6 cups)
2 red bell peppers, cut into matchsticks
   We substituted Chinese cabbage from our CSA for the romaine and napa cabbage
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves (we omitted)
1 cup salted dry-roasted peanuts, chopped
6 scallions, sliced thin

   Segment the oranges and transfer the segments to a small bowl. Set aside for garnishing the salad. Squeeze the juice from the orange membranes into a second bowl (juice should measure 1/4 cup). Or, if you're lazy like me, you can just measure out 1/4 cup of store-bought orange juice.
   Combine the orange juice, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, sugar, and chili-garlic sauce in a bowl. Transfer 1/2 cup of the orange juice mixture to a 12-inch skillet. Slowly whisk vegetable oil and sesame oil into the remaining orange juice mixture to make the vinaigrette. Set aside.
   Bring the orange juice mixture in the skillet to a boil. Add the chicken, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the meat registers 160 degrees (about 10-15 minutes), flipping halfway through cooking. Transfer the chicken to a plate and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
   Meanwhile, boil the pan juices until reduced to 1/4 cup. This will only take about 1-3 minutes. Set aside. Shred the chicken into bite size pieces, transfer to a medium bowl, and toss with the reduced sauce, any accumulated juices, and 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Let sit for 10 minutes.
   Toss the romaine, cabbage, bell peppers, cilantro, peanuts, and scallions with the remaining vinaigrette in a large bowl. Transfer to a serving platter and top with the chicken and oranges.

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