Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Not Your Ordinary Noodle


Another easy salad idea for the hot days ahead. This Asian-inspired salad is easy to prepare and delivers complex layers of flavor and texture.

I cook all the components in my black iron skillet or wok and remove each cooked layer to bowls until I'm ready to assemble the individual salads. I have my cold items sliced, diced and seasoned-ready to be served before I even begin the cooking process.

Experience and repetition have taught me how to prepare ingredients in the proper order to ensure that each stage of a recipe is ready when I need it. Learning the art of combining ingredients on hand comes from years of studying the core ingredients of different ethnic recipes and finding their common denominator(s).

And finally, stocking my pantry with ingredients that allow me to grab ordinary ingredients and creating a tasty meal without a recipe.

For this simple salad, I boiled the chicken wings with fresh garlic and saved my stock. For the black iron skillet I created an essential taste combo that sears the wings. I start with a hot skillet and add vegetable oil with a small amount of sesame oil. I build on this with fish sauce, rice vinegar, dark soy, sugar and a seasoned rice wine.

The wings are then stir-fried-and removed from the pan. I deglaze with a tablespoon or so of stock before adding my sliced veggies; in this case-lettuce, carrots, cucumber, fresh garlic, celery and red onion. The veggies are stir fried until they have a nice sheen but not over-cooked. I deglaze again with more chicken stock and then add my cooked noodles. Then I add back the vegetables and make sure everything is well incorportated and hot.

That's it. The ingredients are ready to build a salad. The cold ingredients are sliced lettuce and cucumbers seasoned with a rice vinegar dressing with a small amount of sugar. I continue buiding with the noodles and cooked vegetables and finally the wings. I garnish with toasted black and white sesame seed.

I make this sometimes with pork and it would be great with no meat.
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