Chef, teacher, and award-winning cookbook author Nina Simonds is known for her expertise in Asian cuisine and her interest in the ways our food, especially spices and fresh herbs, relates to our health. This salad combines traditional Asian flavors with the wonderful aromas of fresh cilantro and basil.
boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
rice wine or sake
virgin olive oil
thin rice stick noodles (softened in hot water and drained)
2 ½ cup
2 ½ cup
Earthbound Farm Heirloom Lettuce Leaves, Romaine Leaves, or other leafy lettuces (rinsed, drained, and cut into julienne shreds)
2 ½ cup
bean sprouts (rinsed and drained)
Juice of 5 limes or 2-1/2 lemons (about 2/3 cup)
1 ¼ tsp
crushed red pepper or chili pepper flakes
Asian fish sauce (or more taste)
1 ½ Tbsp
fresh cilantro (chopped coarse)
fresh basil (chopped coarse)
1 ½ cup
scallion greens (chopped finely)
Trim the chicken of any fat and gristle; place in a bowl. Combine the marinade ingredients and pour over the chicken. Cover and marinate about 20 minutes at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
Prepare a medium-hot fire for grilling or preheat a gas grill or broiler. If grilling, brush the rack with olive oil and place the chicken about 3 inches from the source of heat. Grill, covered, for 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until the chicken is opaque all the way through. Remove and cool slightly. Cut the chicken meat across the grain into thin slices.
In a large stockpot, heat 2 quarts of water to boiling. Add the softened rice stick noodles and swirl in the hot water. Cook for 10 seconds, or until just tender. Drain thoroughly in a colander and rinse under cold, running water. Clip the noodles, if desired, into 3-inch lengths and arrange on a deep serving platter.
Place the chicken on the noodles in the center of the platter, and arrange the carrots, lettuce and bean sprouts in concentric circles around the meat.
In a medium bowl, soak the crushed red pepper in the lime juice for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining dressing ingredients, and stir well to dissolve the sugar. Pour the dressing into a serving bowl and serve beside the salad platter.
©2005 Nina Simonds