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Chicken-and-Spinach Salad with Toasted-Sesame Dressing

Source: Quick from Scratch - Soups and Salads
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Active Time:  20 Minutes
Total Time:  20 Minutes
  Serves 4
Sesame seeds thicken and flavor the dressing here, and they're also tossed with the chicken, so you're sure to taste them in every bite. Keep a close eye on the seeds while they're toasting; it doesn't take long for them to go from golden brown to burned. Omit the chicken altogether and serve this salad as a side dish.
RECIPE INGREDIENTS
For the Dressing:
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1-1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon orange juice
1-1/2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Chicken:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds fresh spinach, stems trimmed
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
Chicken-and-Spinach Salad with Toasted-Sesame Dressing Recipe at Cooking.com
DIRECTIONS
FOR THE DRESSING:
Sauté the sesame seeds in large skillet over medium heat until browned, about 3 minutes. Remove the seeds from the pan. In a blender, combine the vinegar, ginger, garlic, orange juice, sesame oil, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon of the toasted sesame seeds. Puree until smooth.


FOR THE CHICKEN:
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle chicken with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Sauté chicken until brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate. Set the skillet over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons water. Cook, scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge any brown bits, until reduced to 1 tablespoon. Transfer the liquid to the blender and pulse to combine. When the chicken breasts are cool enough to handle, cut them into bite-size pieces and toss with the remaining sesame seeds.


TO SERVE:
In a large bowl, toss the spinach with the red-pepper strips and the chicken. Serve the salad with the dressing spooned over the top.


WINE RECOMMENDATION:
The herbal, grassy notes in sauvignon blanc make it well-suited to pairing with salads. Even better, its high acidity allows it to easily handle the tart orange juice in this dressing.


Recipe reprinted by permission of Food and Wine. All rights reserved.
Date Added: 01/01/2008
Part of These Recipe Collections Find Similar Recipes »
 Center-Stage Salads
Nutrition Facts per Serving
Yield:   Serves 4
Calories: 444
Fat. Total: 30g
Fiber: 8g
Carbohydrates, Total: 13g
Sodium: 546mg
% Cal. from Fat: 61%
Cholesterol: 66mg
Protein: 35g
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