Thai Chicken Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing
- 3 - 3 1/2 pound whole chicken (I use 5 boneless, skinless breasts)
- Table salt and ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice from 3 to 4 limes
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3 small cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
- 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
- 1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch by 1/4-inch matchsticks (about 1 cup)
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated on large holes of box grater (about 1/2 cup)
- 4 scallions, white and green parts, sliced thin
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted peanuts
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Roast in a 375-degree oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 165 to 170 degrees, about 1 hour, 10 minutes.
- When cool, pull the meat off the bones in 2-inch shreds, discarding fat and sinew.
- Reserve 5 cups for this recipe; set the rest aside for another use. (The chicken can be roasted, shredded, and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 24 hours.)
- Puree oil, peanut butter, lime juice, water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes in blender until combined. Transfer to large bowl. (Dressing may be made ahead of time, covered, and refrigerated overnight.
- Whisk to recombine before using.)
- Add cucumber, carrot, scallions, and cilantro to vinaigrette; toss to combine.
- Add chicken and toss gently to combine; let stand at room temperature 15 minutes.
- Adjust seasoning with salt and sprinkle with peanuts.
- Serve immediately. (My note: This salad is great for several days of leftovers, but the veggies get soggy in the dressing. I now assemble the salad and keep the dressing separate; on the day I plan to eat it, I portion out a serving of salad and put the dressing on before I eat it so the veggies stay crisp.)
- Don't dress chicken when warm--it will absorb too much dressing. For even less fuss, use fully cooked supermarket rotisserie chicken. This recipe is best served over salad greens