This chain restaurant classic needed a serious makeover, and we started by nixing anything from a can. The salad bar pile-ons (chow mein noodles, sprouts, snow peas, fried wonton strips, and water chestnuts) also got the ax, and instead, we started with crisp romaine lettuce and Napa cabbage, bell peppers, fresh cilantro, and scallions. To keep the title ingredient from tasting like an afterthought, we eschewed rotisserie chicken, instead poaching boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a flavorful mixture of soy sauce, orange juice, rice vinegar, and ginger. We whisked more of the same mixture with sesame and vegetable oils to make a bold dressing for our salad and finished the whole thing off with orange segments—fresh, of course—and crunchy roasted peanuts.
You can substitute one clove of minced garlic and ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper for the Asian chili-garlic sauce.
1/4cup rice vinegar
1/4cup soy sauce
3tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1tablespoon Asian chili-garlic sauce
3tablespoons vegetable oil
2tablespoons toasted sesame oil
4 (6- to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
2 romaine lettuce hearts (12 ounces), sliced thin
1/2small head napa cabbage, cored and sliced thin (6 cups)
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 2-inch-long matchsticks
1cup fresh cilantro leaves
1cup salted dry-roasted peanuts, chopped
6 scallions, sliced thin
1. Cut thin slice from top and bottom of oranges, then slice off rind and pith. Working over bowl, cut orange segments from thin membrane and transfer segments to second bowl; set aside. Squeeze juice from membrane into first bowl (juice should measure ¼ cup).
2. Combine orange juice, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, sugar, and chili-garlic sauce in bowl; transfer ½ cup orange juice mixture to 12-inch skillet. Slowly whisk vegetable oil and sesame oil into remaining orange juice mixture to make vinaigrette; set aside.
3. Bring orange juice mixture in skillet to boil. Add chicken, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until meat registers 160 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking. Transfer chicken to plate and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, boil pan juices until reduced to 1/4 cup, 1 to 3 minutes; set aside. Using 2 forks, shred chicken into bite-size pieces. Off heat, add chicken, any accumulated juices, and 2 tablespoons vinaigrette to skillet. Toss to coat and let sit for 10 minutes.
5. Toss romaine, cabbage, bell peppers, cilantro, peanuts, and scallions with remaining vinaigrette in large bowl. Transfer to serving platter and top with chicken and oranges. Serve.
SHOPPING FOR ASIAN FLAVORS
ASIAN CHILI-GARLIC SAUCE
If you like garlic and heat, you'll reach for this bottle often.
This Japanese vinegar is sweet and mild.
TOASTED SESAME SEED
This aromatic, high-impact oil is made from deeply roasted seeds. It doesn't holdup to cooking, so add it off heat.
Cutting perfect, jewel-like segments from citrus is so much easier than you think—especially if you use a sharp paring knife or small serrated knife. Work over a bowl to catch the juices.
Cut the ends from the fruit. Following the natural curve of the fruit, trim the peel away, down just beyond the white pith, to expose the flesh of the fruit.
Insert the blade between the membrane and pulp of each segment and cut toward the center, separating the fruit from the membrane.
After releasing the segment, wiggle the blade away from you. The segment should pop right out.
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