Blue Barn's Chinese Chicken Salad Revives a Wilted Classic

Categories: Recipes

Tired no more.
It's a ladies luncheon cliché of the 1980s, the Asian chicken salad bristling with greasy wonton strips, canned Mandarin oranges, and rubbery almonds. Anywhere else, this sweet and tangy relic is likely to seem as outmoded as one of Bea Arthur's pantsuits from The Golden Girls, but not at Blue Barn Gourmet (2105 Chestnut at Steiner). The Marina salad and sandwich cafe has managed to infuse the tired assemblage with new freshness: herbs, oranges that haven't drowned in heavy syrup, the buckwheat noodles called soba (crisp without resorting to the Fryolator), and a light dressing. It's about time.

Blue Barn's Chinese Chicken Salad
Makes one large serving

4 cups chopped romaine
½ cup shredded carrots
½ cup julienned snow peas
½ cup orange segments
1 tablespoons sesame seeds (a mix of black and white)
1 tablespoon chopped mint
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons minced green scallions
¾ cup roasted chicken (white meat only), cut into ½-inch cubes
½ cup crunchy soba noodles (see below)
¼ cup Sweet and Sour Dressing (see below)

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss thoroughly (it should just coat the ingredients).

For the crunchy soba noodles:
Blanch noodles in boiling water until cooked but not mushy, drain thoroughly, toss with olive oil, and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 375° F until golden brown. Break into small pieces.

For the Sweet and Sour Dressing:
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup pineapple juice
3 teaspoons grated ginger
¼ c rice-wine vinegar
1 cup grapeseed oil
Salt to taste

In a small saucepan, combine honey, pineapple juice, and ginger. Bring to a boil and reduce to ½ cup. Cool. Transfer to a jar with a screw lid and add vinegar, oil, and a pinch of salt. Shake well to mix. Add additional salt as needed.

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