I had half a Moorish chicken left over from Sunday’s dinner and Jan had a desire for chicken salad. She also pointed out that she really likes the crunchiness of cabbage and my peanut dressing. To add starch—to make it a full meal—and to give the salad even more crunchiness, I decided to add fresh baked croutons.
Note: I like to set my dinner salads up as more of a buffet—salad mix, chicken, croutons and dressing—so that individual diners can select the quantities of each that they desire.
Karl’s Mixed Salad with Chicken, Croutons, and Peanut Dressing
1 lb. cooked chicken, sliced (You may use grilled tofu or tempe for Vegetarian)
Karl’s Peanut Dressing
4 Tbs. creamy peanut butter
1 Tbs. fish sauce
1 Tbs. hoisin sauce
1 Tbs. light soy sauce
1 Tbs. lime juice
1+ tsp. sriracha, to taste
1 tsp. agave syrup
½ tsp. dark sesame oil
½+ cup hot water
2 cups fresh croutons
10-12 slices of French baguette, sliced on the bias
2-3 Tbs. butter, melted
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried chervil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
¼ tsp. Kosher salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 cup romaine, coarsely chopped
1 cup napa cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 cup green cabbage, coarsely chopped
½ cup red cabbage, coarsely chopped
3 red radishes, sliced
2 inches of daikon, quartered lengthwise and sliced
1 large stalk celery, coarsely sliced
1 large carrot sliced on the bias
1 Persian cucumber, quartered lengthwise and sliced
1 beefsteak tomato, coarsely chopped
1. Place all of the ingredients in a small pot and whisk them together.
Tip: I have tried to stop right here, but the peanut butter does not dissolve enough and leaves you with a lumpy dressing.
Note: I do not like things too spicy, feel free to increase the amount of sriracha to your preferred heat level.
2. Warm the pot over a very low heat, whisking frequently, until the dressing is smooth.
Note: As the peanut butter is heated it will both break down and start to absorb the water. Over time the dressing will thicken substantially. You may have to add more water to get the consistency you desire.
3. Brush the butter onto both sides of the bread slices.
Tip: I have found it more convenient to “doctor” the bread slices first and then cut them into croutons.
4. Sprinkle the herb mix over both sides.
Tip: To get a good mixture of the herbs, place them in a mortar and pestle and grind them together briefly.
5. Cut the bread slices into croutons and spread them evenly over a lipped baking sheet.
6. Place the croutons in a 300º F oven and toast them for 15-25 minutes, until lightly browned and crisp.
Tip: Stir the croutons around every 5 minutes, so that they brown evenly.
Note: There is a fine line between a crouton being “crisp” and “dried out and rock hard.” Do not over bake your croutons.
7. Place all of the salad mix ingredients in a large salad bowl and toss to mix.
8. Lay out the salad mix, the sliced chicken, croutons, and dressing in a row so that your diners can take as much of each as they wish.