Everyday Gourmet (4/9/09)

The Gang of Nine

By Kim Dannies

April 9, 2009

I recently had the pleasure of sharing Asian cooking techniques with a Williston group that will be known to my readers only as “The Gang of Nine.” Did I use good judgment serving Asian I.V. cocktails (vodka spiked with fresh ginger juice, Rose’s lime juice, and mint) before they began wielding the knives? You bet. They performed like seasoned Peking Acrobats in a kitchen choreography rivaling any Iron Chef competition. We managed to turn out a pretty platter or two, mastering Healthy Pork Fried Rice and Siren Shrimp with Bok Choy. The Chinese Chicken Salad was a big hit, as well. We think it’s the perfect spring dish for a potluck party, grand luncheon or weekend family treat.

Chinese Chicken Salad

On a gentle simmer, poach 4 chicken breasts in 4 cups of chicken stock until tender, about 15 minutes. Cool the chicken and then slice breasts into bite-sizes cubes; reserve.

Combine 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup sesame oil and 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar in a large prep bowl. Boil 1 1/2 pounds of fettuccini noodles in lightly salted water for 10 minutes. Strain; then pour pasta into the prep bowl and coat the noodles; reserve.

For the salad you’ll need 1 package of matchstick carrots; 1 package of ramen noodles, lightly crumbled; 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted; 12 ounces of fresh bean sprouts; 3 cups fresh pea pods, sliced in half; 1 Napa cabbage thinly sliced across the grain, forming a pile of thin ringlets. Toss all of these ingredients into a large prep bowl, reserve.

For the dressing, mince together in a food processor a 3-inch piece of freshly peeled ginger, 4 garlic cloves and the zest of a large orange. Add 1/2 cup of Tahini, 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, 1 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup sherry, 1/4 cup fish sauce, 4 tablespoons of chili garlic sauce and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Blend well; thin with additional orange juice if necessary.

Combine the chicken and noodles. Coat with some of the dressing. Gently fold in veggie mixture and turn the salad onto a large platter. Drizzle remaining dressing over the top. Garnish with fresh pea shoots. Serve immediately using tongs, or cover and refrigerate up to two hours. Serves 12 to 14.

Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three college-aged daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com.