Sesame Chicken Salad with Spinach, Cucumber and Cilantro
Recipe type: Salads
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.5 lb)
- 1½ cups panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- A couple good handfuls of stemmed spinach leaves (about 4 cups)
- 1 cucumber, peeled, and cut into thin strips with a vegetable peeler
- Handful fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds toasted in a dry skillet over low heat, plus extra for garnish
- Cracked black pepper
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- In a bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, ginger, sugar, and red pepper flakes for the vinaigrette.
- Toast 2 tablespoons of the sesame seeds in a small dry skillet until fragrant, a minute or two, then set aside.
- Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Put a chicken breast on the cutting board and, holding a large knife parallel to the board, cut through the breast horizontally so that you get 2 thin fillets. Repeat with the 3 remaining breasts. Put the chicken on a platter, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette, and toss to coat. Set the rest of the vinaigrette aside. Let the chicken marinate for about 10 minutes.
- Combine the panko and the remaining ¼ cup sesame seeds in a shallow bowl and season with a little salt and pepper. Mix well with your fingers so that the seasoning is incorporated and then taste it; the panko should be well seasoned. Dredge the chicken in the seasoned crumbs, patting the crumbs gently so they adhere.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Line a platter with paper towels and set that to the side of the stove. Add about half of the chicken to the pan and cook about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crispy. Remove the chicken to the towel-lined platter to drain while you cook the rest of the chicken.
- Put the spinach in a bowl with the cucumber, cilantro, scallion and a tablespoon of the toasted sesame seeds, and give it a good toss. To serve, arrange a mound of greens on a plate, set a piece of chicken on top, stack a few more greens on top, and finish with another piece of chicken. Drizzle with the vinaigrette. Make 3 more plates this way and shower with the remaining tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds and cracked black pepper.