People complain that the Mediterranean diet is somewhat bland and lacking in “bite.” Personally, I have never found that to be the case, but I often look to the Far East for inspiration. Like balsamic vinegar in Italian cooking, I have found that soy sauce tends to add a special flavor that triggers a whole new host of tastes.
Salads are wonderful during the summer. The Chinese chicken and walnut salad below incorporates a number of Asian condiments – hoisin sauce and soya – that add a flavor complexity to an otherwise simple salad. The Napa cabbage has become a frequent ingredient for my summer salad preparations since I enjoy the “crunch.”
This recipe is a summer favorite and we normally serve it with shredded chicken rather than shrimp, but for those who are feather-challenged we provide you with a harvested-shrimp alternative.
A note on the dressing: Use it sparingly since it tends to overwhelm the rest of the ingredients. Toss in half of the dressing, taste and then add more if needed. This recipe is derived from several sources from my salad archives.
Chinese Chicken and Walnut Salad
Yield 4 servings
A family favorite with an Asian pedigree.
Ingredients for Salad
- 1 bunch of spinach
- 1/2 bunch of Napa cabbage (don't substitute)
- 4 carrots julienned
- 1 1/2 cups of walnuts
- 1 red pepper julienned
- 4 scallions sliced
- 2 cups of shredded chicken or shrimp
- 2 stalks of celery sliced
- 1 small jalapeño thinly sliced
Ingredients for Dressing
- 1/2 cup of oil
- 1/4 cup of hoisin sauce (maybe less)
- 1/4 cup of soy
- 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon (heaping) of garlic
- 1 teaspoon (heaping) of ginger
- 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
- Toss salad ingredients together
- Mix dressing thoroughly and then add about half of the dressing to the salad and toss thoroughly. Taste and then add more dressing to suit your taste.