There was a time that on each and every Friday, I would have lunch with my good friends Sandy and Vanessa. I can’t tell you how many times we ordered this chicken salad at a place on Main Street in Pleasanton California called Tongs. I don’t even know if the restaurant is still there, but the memory of that salad and our fun Friday lunches stays with me even today, many years later and many miles away from my girlfriends.
I love this salad so much recreated my own version of the salad we used to order at Tongs and included it in my first cookbook Signature Salads (2005). I cook the bone-in chicken breasts the same way Tongs did, leaving the skin on, and pan searing before finishing in the oven. The cooked chicken is sliced thinly and tossed with a Chinese mustard vinaigrette in a confetti mixture of romaine, Napa cabbage, cilantro, and radicchio. Chopped peanuts add the finishing touch.
While this was once my go-to Friday girlfriend lunch, it is now my go-to busy weeknight family meal. My daughter is in the middle of lacrosse season right now, which means lots of games (which I love to watch!) and not a lot of time for dinner preparation. When you get home from the game everyone is starving and then there is still homework they have to do. If you have kids, you definitely know what I mean.
There is never enough time,that’s why I love things like this. I can get the ingredients prepped early in the day and just toss together when we get home. —-And in 80+ degree temperatures, a really nice salad makes everyone happy and does the trick! Hope you like it too.
Chicken Salad with Chinese Mustard Vinaigrette
- Dressing: 1 egg yolk 3 teaspoons Chinese dry mustard powder
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1½ teaspoons honey
- Salt and Freshly ground pepper
- 3 bone in, skin on chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- Salt & freshly ground pepper
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
- 1 head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 head romaine lettuce, thinly sliced 1 head radicchio, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 cup chopped peanuts
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a large saute pan over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the peanut oil and heat until almost smoking. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook 4 minutes. This skin should be golden brown. Turn the chicken over and place in the oven. Roast until the chicken is just cooked through and the juices run clear, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the bones and slice into thin strips.
- Add the chicken and salad greens to a large bowl. Add dressing and toss well to combine. Divide among plates and garnish with chopped peanuts.