Now that it at last beginning to look like Spring may arrive, it's the perfect time for fresh salads. This recipe is simple, easy, and infused with wonderfully sweet and exotic flavors.
You will need:
Skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Unsalted roasted slivered almonds
Crispy dried wonton or chow mein noodles
Canned mandarin oranges
3-5 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
I begin by butterflying my breasts. Butterflying is usually preformed prior to grilling meat, but I also do it here to ensure the meat is flavorful throughout.
Place the breast meat into a bowl and pour enough orange juice into the bowl so that it nearly covers or just covers the breast. Place in refrigerator and allow to marinate for 30-45 minutes.
Heat your oil on medium to high heat. Season your chicken, and reserve the marinade. For this recipe, I didn't want strong or conflicting flavors to compromise the sweetness of the meat, so I used a lighter hand than I typically do. I seasoned the meat with onion powder, garlic powder, and a bit of regular table salt. You may also opt to use Kosher salt.
When the oil is hot, place breasts into the pan, and sear on both sides.
When the meat is seared, but not cooked through, add approximately 1/4 cup of the orange juice you used to marinade the meat. Reduce heat to medium and continue to heat until all liquid is reduced, and meat is cooked through. As your meat is cooking, use this time to open your canned mandarins and canned water chestnuts. Drain both and place into a container in the refrigerator. Remove meat from heat and place into a clean dish and put the dish into the refrigerator until the meat is cold.
When all of the elements you placed into the refrigerator are completely cold, it's time to construct your salad. Cut your chicken into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
For this salad, I love a spring green mix, which includes earthy and tart, semi-bitter leaves such as baby spinach and arugula.
Toss your greens with:
your chicken, slivered almonds, wonton or noodles, mandarins, and water chestnuts.
Enjoy! This salad is best with an Asian Sesame dressing, or a light and fruity vinaigrette such as raspberry walnut or sweet balsamic.
Variation: If you would like to add another dimension, you can consider adding steamed, cooked edamame. Just be sure you also cool the edamame after cooking and prior to adding.
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