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Chinois Chicken Salad in Wonton Cups with Chinese Mustard Vinaigrette

Chinese Mustard Vinaigrette
1/4 cup
rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoon s
peanut oil
2 tablespoon s
light sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoon s
2 teaspoon s
dry Chinese mustard
1 teaspoon
soy sauce
egg yolk
Freshly ground black pepper
Chinois Chicken Salad
chicken breasts, bone-in with skin
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoon s
peanut oil, plus more for deep-frying
large, square wonton wrappers
head Napa cabbage
head Romaine lettuce
head radicchio
1 cup
chopped roasted peanuts
Cilantro sprigs
lime wedges
  1. First, make the Chinese Mustard Vinaigrette: Place all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste the dressing and, if necessary, season with more salt and pepper. Transfer to a nonreactive bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use. 
  2. To prepare the salad: Preheat the oven to 450°F. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Over high heat, heat an ovenproof sauté pan large enough to hold the chicken breasts. When the pan is hot, add 2 tablespoons of peanut oil and heat to almost smoking. Add the chicken breasts, skin side down, and cook, undisturbed, until the skin is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn the chicken breasts over and put the pan in the oven. Roast until the chicken is just cooked through and the juices run clear when a breast is pierced at its thickest part with a thin skewer or the tip of a small, sharp knife, 15 to 20 minutes. 
  3. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the wonton cups and strips: Fill an automatic deep-fryer with peanut oil, or fill a deep, heavy pot half full with oil; heat the oil to 375°F. Carefully lay one of the wonton wrappers on the surface of the hot oil. After it has begun to soften, after about 5 seconds, use the bowl of a metal ladle to push the center of the wrapper down into the oil, submerging it while forming a bowl shape. As soon as the oil stops sizzling and the wrapper is golden brown, 15 to 30 seconds, remove it with tongs and drain it upside down on paper towels. Repeat with 3 more wrappers to make a total of 4 bowls. Stack and roll up the remaining 2 wrappers and, with a sharp knife, cut across the roll to make strips about 1/4 inch wide. Scatter the strips into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 30 seconds, removing them with a wire skimmer or slotted spoon and transferring to paper towels to drain. 
  4. Prepare the salad leaves: Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water. With a sharp knife, quarter the Napa cabbage lengthwise and cut out the solid stem core at the base of each quarter. Thinly slice the cabbage crosswise and put the shreds in the ice water. Repeat this same process with the radicchio. Halve the Romaine lettuce lengthwise and then thinly slice crosswise and add to the water. With your hands, mix all of the greens thoroughly in the ice water and leave them to chill and crisp for about 5 minutes. Drain, then transfer the leaves to a clean kitchen towel and roll them up to dry them well, taking care not to bruise them. Refrigerate until ready to use. 
  5. When the chicken breasts are done, remove the pan from the oven. As soon as the chicken breasts are cool enough to handle, remove the skin if you like and cut the chicken from the bone in lengthwise slices. Coarsely chop the chicken and transfer the still-warm meat to a large mixing bowl. Add some of the vinaigrette and toss well to coat the chicken. Add the salad leaves and a little more vinaigrette and toss until everything is well coated. 
  6. Place a small mound of the salad, leaves only, on each of 4 serving plates, and nestle a crisp wonton wrapper cup on each mound, gently pressing it down to stabilize it. Fill the cups with the salad, arranging some of the chicken strips on top. Garnish with the fried strips of wonton wrapper, chopped peanuts, cilantro sprigs, and lime wedges. Serve immediately.

Prager Riesling “Achleiten” Smaragd 2006 (Wachau, Austria)

Average: 3.5 (19 votes)

About this Recipe

While I've shared the recipe for my well-known Chinois Chicken Salad before, this version, demonstrated on my "Master Class" show on the Food Network, is different in two respects. First, I make a special point here of using freshly cooked chicken, which you toss with some of the dressing while it's still warm to help it absorb the flavors. And second, I include instructions for making delicious, crispy serving bowls out of wonton wrappers, which you'll find packaged in the refrigerated cases of well-stocked markets. Of course, if you can't find them, or don't want to deep-fry in your kitchen, you can simply mound the salad on pretty plates.

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