Thursday, January 8, 2009

Chicken Salad with Hoisin Dressing

This is a great weekday meal for your family. It is a chicken salad that can be served either on a bed of spinach with sliced cucumbers and radishes or rolled into a flour tortilla with shredded iceberg lettuce or watercress.


2 whole bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (large, at least 1 1/2 pounds each)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Baby spinach (optional)
English cucumber (optional)
Radishes (optional)
Flour tortillas (optional)

Hoisin Dressing

1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon minced ginger root
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons vegetable oil


2 medium ribs celery, cut into small dice
2 medium scallions, white and green parts minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Set breasts on small, foil-lined jelly roll pan. Brush with oil and sprinkle generously with salt. Roast until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast registers 160 degrees, 35-40 minutes. Cool to room temperature, remove skin and bones, and shred meat into bite-sized pieces (about 5 cups). This can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for 2 days.

2. For the dressing, whisk together vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and minced ginger in small bowl. Whisk in both oils and set aside.

3. Mix remaining salad ingredients in large bowl. Add shredded chicken and stir. Add dressing and toss to coat. This can be covered and refrigerated overnight at this point.

4. Serve on a bed of spinach with sliced cucumbers and/or radishes or rolled in a flour tortilla with shredded iceberg lettuce.

Recipe from Cook's Illustrated: July, 1997

Click here for printable version of this recipe.

Cooking tips: We served our salad on a bed of spinach with English cucumbers. To prepare your cucumber, slice it lengthwise. Then remove the seeds with a spoon. Cut each piece lengthwise again and then slice.

I love salads like this one because it is so easy to set aside some of each ingredient during the cooking process for our picky eater. On his plate for this meal, he had some shredded chicken before it was mixed with the hoisin dressing, plain spinach, and a small handful of sliced cucumbers.

We have been separating out parts of a whole meal for our picky eater for long enough that he was also asked to eat one piece of chicken with the hoisin dressing. That's what we call a "no-thank-you-bite" in our house.

No-thank-you-bites are essentially one bite of what your picky eater would otherwise say "no thank you" toward if given the choice. They are essential for building up your picky eater's tolerance for different tastes. We don't want to torture our poor child, which is why we say one bite, but as parents, we are the ones that need to be continuously guiding our picky eaters toward food that will stretch them out of their comfort zone. The goal of "no-thank-you-bites" is to help them eat, and eventually enjoy, a more diverse group of foods.

1 comment:

Four For France said...

This was super yummy! I made it last night and even the recovering picky-eater in my family asked for seconds. We served it over spinach. Thanks for another great recipe.