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Spinach Salad with Chicken, Cashews, Ginger & Fried Wontons

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Serves six as a first course, four as a main course.

Instead of cooking chicken breasts, you can use leftover roasted or rotisserie chicken. You'll need 3-1/2 cups.

When buying spinach, look for leaves that are uniformly green and crisp. Avoid those that are wilted, excessively wet, or yellowed. Fresh spinach can be quite gritty, especially the larger bundled leaves, so wash it very carefully.

For the vinaigrette:
  • 2 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. peanut oil
  • 2 tsp. finely grated or minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. Asian sesame oil
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the chicken:
  • 1 Tbs. peanut oil
  • 3 bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts (about 1 lb. total)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
  • 1/2 cup cashew pieces (about 3 oz.)
  • 1-1/2 cups peanut oil
  • 2 oz. wonton wrappers (about 8 wrappers), cut into 1/8-inch strips
  • 10 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves, washed and dried (about 10 oz.)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375ºF.

Make the vinaigrette:

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients, seasoning to taste with the salt and pepper.

Cook the chicken:

Heat the peanut oil in an ovenproof 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Generously season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. When the oil is shimmering, add the chicken breasts skin side down and cook until light golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the chicken breasts so they are skin side up and transfer the pan to the oven. Bake until the chicken is just cooked through, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let cool. Remove and discard the skin and bones. Cut each breast diagonally into thin slices and set aside.

Make the salad:

While the chicken cools, scatter the cashews on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until golden and fragrant, 7 to 9 minutes. Let cool.

Pour the peanut oil into a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 375ºF. Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature, or test the oil temperature by dipping the end of one wonton strip into the oil. If it’s hot enough, it should sizzle on contact.

Fry half of the strips until light golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season with a light sprinkle of salt. Fry the remaining wonton strips, drain, and season with salt. (The wontons can be fried up to 2 hours ahead.)

In a large bowl, toss the vinaigrette with the spinach, chicken, and scallions and season to taste with salt. Divide the salad among four or six plates, garnish each with the fried wontons and cashews, and serve immediately.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on six servings; Calories (kcal): 230; Fat (g): 13; Fat Calories (kcal): 120; Saturated Fat (g): 2.5; Protein (g): 17; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6; Carbohydrates (g): 15; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): 510; Cholesterol (mg): 35; Fiber (g): 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Very good but next time I will double the scallions, double the dressing, and add mandarin oranges.

This salad is AWESOME! It is great with spinach or lettuce. When in a time pinch I have used rotissorie chicken and purchased fried wonton skins and this salad is on the table in less than 30 minutes. When frying wonton skins, fry more than you'll need and keep the extra in the freezer for the next time you make the salad because you will definitely want to make this one again!

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