We were doing our weekend grocery run recently and for the first time this year, we found some basil that actually looked edible. Of course we had to buy it, because in Chicago this might be the only sign of spring that we get until late May. (Can you tell we're a little bitter about our 7-month winter?) Our beautiful basil resulted in a few very tasty meals, this being one of them.
My mom first made this recipe for me when I was in high school. She has always collected food magazines (and by that I mean collected obsessively to the point of being able to start a private library) and recognized this one as a gem long ago. It's been so good that it has slowly migrated from my family to Husband's family as a staple.
("salz" from Salzburg)
This recipe is very versatile: you can cook the chicken per the recipe, buy a rotisserie chicken at the store and shred, use tofu, use soba noodles or pasta noodles, or serve warm or cold. I love the idea of serving this salad at a summer barbeque just as much as I love eating it warm in the wintertime with a nice Lagunitas copper ale (also good year-round).
Bon appétit, mes amis!
(p.s. Though it yields four servings, we usually double this recipe and eat it as weekday leftovers. I also sometimes like to make a little extra pasta and a little extra sauce. You might have to play around with it a little to get your favorite proportions.)
Peanut Chicken Pasta Salad
from Cooking Light
For the chicken:
2 cups water
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
For the dressing:
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons roasted peanut oil
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce (or more if you like it hotter)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups cooked whole wheat spaghetti or soba noodles (about 4 ounces uncooked)
1 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
4 teaspoons chopped peanuts
Lime wedges (optional)
Combine chicken ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring water to a boil. Once boiling, cover and remove from heat. Let chicken sit for 15 minutes or until done. Remove it from the water, shred, and place in the bottom of a large serving bowl.
Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Pour over the chicken and let it sit for 5 minutes. Add noodles and vegetables to the serving bowl and toss with the chicken and dressing. Garnish with peanuts and limes. Serve room temperature or as a cold salad.