Summer salad: chicken and cabbage March 31, 2010Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Chicken, Vegetables.
Tags: Lunch, Snacks
I decided it was time for Nero Wolfe to have a break. Not from food and certainly not from cooking – but perhaps something lighter was in order. I had bought half a cabbage with no clear idea about what I would do with it, so I decided to make a chicken and cabbage salad – a variation on the more traditional coleslaw.
To start with, I chopped up a chicken breast into strips and simmered it in a mixture of ginger, garlic, soy sauce and water. I know this is not the most traditional way to prepare chicken for this type of salad, but I wanted to ensure that the chicken had flavours independent from the rest of the salad.
While the chicken was cooking, I started to prepare the rest of the salad, beginning with the dressing. I started with mayonnaise, dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper. I tasted it, and decided that was really too bland. So I added curry powder, mustard seeds, a bit more lemon juice and cayenne pepper. I mixed it until all the spices were well combined.
The next step was to cut up a variety of vegetables to add to the salad. Now, I am not the world’s neatest chopper. As I am very proud of telling people, I failed my knife cutting test during my home economics class at school, as I couldn’t tell my julienne from my jardiniere – let alone execute the difference properly (and the sad thing is although I couldn’t cut a julienne or a jardiniere, I can still spell them both without looking them up. So home economics classes didn’t work out for me – but english class did!). I think the main issue is I get bored having to repetitively chop things up perfectly again and again – other repetitive kitchen tasks don’t bother me, but chopping things neatly really does!
Anyway, I tried my best to chop things neatly, if not properly julienned or jardiniered. I added shallots, carrots, capsicum, celery, and of course the cabbage. The cabbage I did chop fairly finely (although not as finely as I would for coleslaw).
By this time the chicken had cooled a bit. I added the chicken and some of the broth I’d cooked it in, and tossed everything in the dressing well. I even managed to find some nice dishes to serve them in – they’re meant to be served with things that require chopsticks but they work just as well as salad bowls.
When I was eating this, I was glad I had adjusted the dressing to give it a bit more of a kick. The curry powder came through without being overwhelming, and the cayenne pepper provided a bit of heat. I was pleased to see that the garlic and ginger I had cooked the chicken in had also imparted a bit more depth to the flavour than just the dressing.
I feel that this dish would be a nice starter for Nero Wolfe – obviously he’d follow it with several more courses – but it was light and tasty and provided a nice contrast to some of the heavier dishes we’d had recently.