This is one of those sublime classics with all the bells and whistles without the fuss. The crunchy walnuts add richness to the lean, tasty chicken breasts, and the crispy lettuce and fresh mint absorb the hoisin sauce and vinegar. This salad is great for lunch or as a main course at dinnertime.
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cupFisher® Walnuts
1-1/2 pound chicken breasts, cut into 4 halves, about 6 ounces each
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sesame oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced, green and white parts separated
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1-1/2 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 head bibb lettuce
2 small carrots, cut into 1/8-inch thin rounds
Toast the walnuts: In a large skillet, heat the oil and add the walnuts. Toast and brown the walnuts in the oil 2-3 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon. Drain on a kitchen towel. Season with salt.
Cook the chicken: In the same skillet, heat the oil until it smokes lightly. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with the red pepper flakes and salt. Remove the pan from the heat and drop them in a single layer in the skillet. Return the skillet to heat and cook the chicken over high heat on the first side until browned, about 5 minutes. Turn breasts over, reducing heat to medium-low. Cover and cook 5 to 8 minutes or until cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a flat surface, cut into ½-inch slices and drizzle with the sesame oil.
Make the sauce: In the same skillet, add the white part of the scallions and cook over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the hoisin sauce, soy sauce and vinegar. Bring to a simmer, remove from heat and cool.
Assemble the salad: Arrange the bibb leaves on a large platter and drizzle with a few spoonfuls of the sauce. Layer the chicken and remaining sauce and vegetables on top of the lettuce. Sprinkle with the walnuts, carrot slices and scallion greens.
Tip: Add 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger to the sauce last minute for additional "zing."
Tip: Make these into little lettuce cups by filling romaine spears or endive leaves with the chicken, walnuts and sauce for a more snack-y version of this dish.
Tip: Like a sweeter note? Toss the toasted walnuts in a little paprika mixed with a pinch of salt and sugar.