I remember a time when I felt sort of ashamed in many restaurants.
As I would sit and enjoy something fried, drenched in gravy or dripping with luscious fat, there always seemed to be someone nearby who went the salad route. And it rarely failed that we’d exchange glances — mine friendly and theirs usually pretentious. These experiences weren’t much different than those times at the gym when I anxiously refilled my Gatorade bottle from the water fountain, as a perfectly-shaped socialite looked down her nose while she sipped the pricey nectar of prehistoric ice caps.
The salad-eaters were onto something, but it wasn’t always a good thing. Many of those bowls of greens came topped with crispy (fried) chicken, or were drowned in fatty dressing. (My chicken-fried bacon just might’ve had fewer calories!) As for the stilted babes and their designer thirst-quenchers — it turns out that we were all just drinking water.
Truc — Want to crisp up your lettuce and other salad vegetables? Soak them in tepid water and then place them in the refrigerator. For scientific reasons too lengthy to explain here, this method is more effective than the traditional ice water bath.
For my 13 loyal readers, you know that salads are rare for me. Healthy salads are even less likely. But if I’m going through a healthy phase, I’ll be damned if I’m taking a chance at a fast food drive-thru. The following recipe takes most of its cues from various fast food versions, except the vegetables are hand-selected and the dressing didn’t come from a large bottle with a long list of not-easily-pronounced ingredients.
Asian Chicken Salad w/ Ginger Sesame Dressing
1 – Small head Napa Cabbage, chopped (about 6 cups)
2 cups – Red cabbage, sliced thinly
1 – Small sweet red pepper, julienned
1/2 cup – Jicama, julienned
1/4 cup – Green Onion (tops), chopped
1/4 cup – Cilantro, chopped finely
2 – Grilled or roasted chicken breasts, sliced
Combine all salad ingredients. Top with chicken and Ginger Sesame Dressing. Makes about 4 servings.
1/4 cup – Carrots, julienned
1 cup – Mandarin segments
Sliced almonds (topper)
Toasted sesame seeds (topper – as pictured)
Ginger Sesame Dressing
1½ inch nub – Ginger, minced
2 – Garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup – Rice vinegar
1/4 cup – Toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup – Neutral oil (i.e. – Vegetable oil)
1/4 cup – Soy sauce
1/4 cup – Green Onion (tops), chopped finely
1 TB – Sugar or stevia
Combine everything except for the oils. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or so. Add oils and shake or stir well. Use as salad dressing or marinade.
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