Chinese Chicken Salad With Glazed Walnuts

  • images/chinese_chicken_salad_w_glazed_walnuts.jpg

Makes 6-8 servings

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar or Chinese dark rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sesame paste or peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 4 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 small carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, julienned
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh basil

  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • 12 wonton wrappers, cut into 1/4-inch wide strips
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnut halves

Directions

  1. Combine the dressing ingredients in a sall bowl and whisk until smooth. Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. Set a wok over medium-high heat and add oil to a depth of about 2 inches. Heat the oil to 360 degrees F. Fry the wonton strips until golden brown, about 15 seconds. Remove them with a skimmer and drain on paper towels.
  3. Place a wide frying pan over medium heat until hot. Add the walnut oil, swirling to coat the surface. Add the sugar, stir until it dissolves, add the walnuts, and stir until the nuts are coated with caramelized sugar. Immediately transfer the walnuts to a foil-covered plate and separate them with two forks.
  4. Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat evenly. Serve the salad in a wide shallow bowl, surrounded with the wonton strips. Scatter the glazed walnuts over the top.