The Barefoot Contessa is one of my food heroes. Everything she makes is so perfect--it's not fancy or overly complicated, but it is comprised entirely of quality ingredients and skilled technique. This salad is an old favorite of ours. I typically only make it in the spring when the asparagus is in season, and it is sure a treat. If you like peanut sauce you will go nuts for this. It's simple, fresh, and pretty darn amazing.
Chinese Chicken Salad
-adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties
-2 lbs chicken breasts, roasted (it matters how you cook the chicken here. You want it tender and flavorful. If you abide by her rules, you will purchase bone in skin on breasts, rub with olive oil, salt/pepper liberally, and roast at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes until done. Remove skin and then shred the most perfect chicken ever. Or, get a rotisserie chicken if you must).
-2 bunches asparagus, ends removed and cut into thirds
-2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
-4 green onions, thinly sliced (both green and white parts)
-2 T. sesame seeds, toasted
-1 cup canola oil
-1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
-1/3 cup soy sauce
-3 T sesame oil
-1 T honey
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 T. grated fresh ginger root
-1 T sesame seeds, toasted
-1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
-1 t. kosher salt, plus more to taste
-1 t. black pepper
Blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water for 3 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Remove from water and plunge into an ice bath (big bowl of cold water with ice) to stop cooking and retain beautiful green color. Drain asparagus and combine with sliced red peppers, and shredded cooked chicken in a large bowl. Whisk together all ingredients for dressing and pour over the chicken and vegetables (start with about half. You will need more, but I can almost guarantee you won't need it all). Add green onions and sesame seeds and toss to coat. Season with more salt if needed. You can serve this cold or at room temperature. Get ready to fall in love.