Spicy Chicken Salad with Papaya
- SERVINGS: 6
Joyce Goldstein loves the surprise of sweet and hot flavors—chilled papaya with unexpected heat from a ginger and crushed red pepper dressing. Note that she cooks the chicken for this salad on the bone; it' more flavorful that way. Marinating the chicken overnight in the refrigerator makes it even tastier.
- 1 1/2 cups peanut or canola oil
- 5 teaspoons crushed red pepper
- 6 quarter-size slices of peeled fresh ginger, smashed, plus 2 tablespoons grated ginger
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- Zest strips from 1 orange
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons five-spice powder
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 6 chicken breast halves on the bone (10 to 12 ounces each), skinned
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 large red papaya (about 2 pounds)—peeled, seeded, cut into 3/4-inch dice and chilled
- 3/4 pound mixed peppery greens, such as watercress, arugula and mizuna, tough stems discarded
- 1/2 cup torn mint leaves
- 1/3 cup torn Thai or Italian basil leaves
- In a small skillet, combine 1 cup of the peanut oil with 4 teaspoons of the crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat, swirling the skillet until the pepper is sizzling, about 2 minutes. Pour the seasoned oil into a large glass baking dish and add the smashed ginger, garlic and orange zest. Let cool slightly, then add the sesame oil, five-spice powder and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice. Add the chicken breasts and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup of lemon juice with the grated ginger, shallot, brown sugar and the remaining 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper. Whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup of peanut oil until emulsified. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the broiler and position a rack 8 inches from the heat. Drain the chicken breasts, scraping off most of the marinade but leaving on some of the crushed red pepper, and transfer to a baking sheet. Broil the chicken for about 35 minutes, turning frequently, until golden and cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a platter and let cool. With your fingers, pull the chicken apart into large pieces and add to a large bowl. Pour any accumulated cooking juices into a bowl and spoon off the fat.
- Add the reserved juices and half the vinaigrette to the chicken, toss well and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. Fold in the papaya and season with salt and pepper.
- In another large bowl, toss the greens with the mint, basil and remaining vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to plates or a large platter. Mound the chicken and papaya salad on the greens and serve immediately.
This dish is a contrast of hot but subtle spices and smooth tropical fruit. Cool the spices and echo the exotic papaya with a fruit-driven New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Alternatively, consider a beer, perhaps a Summer Ale.
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