On your way to spring, try something a little exotic
Now in the midst of winter, we have made plenty of soups and stews, roast pork and chicken. Last night we had a very good meatloaf baked with lots of chopped carrots from our garden. Somehow at this time of the year our tastes change, and gravies and carbs seem more inviting. From as far back as the forest primeval, do our bodies still tell us what we need to keep warm?
This chicken dish can appeal to all those cravings, but with a flip of flavors all piled up in the goodness of crisp veggies and heaps of satisfying pasta. It certainly has its roots in Chinese cooking, but has clearly been Americanized on its way to our table. The result is a meal that can come from the Block Island Grocery without having to wait for your next trip to the Chinese grocery on the mainland.
You could come up with all sorts of variations. Add cooked carrots, if you like, or leave out the chilis. A scatter of shelled, roasted peanuts would add another crunch. The snow peas add a flair, just remember you won’t have to steam them as much if you get frozen ones.
The real “must have” is the peanut butter in the dressing. In combination with all the other ingredients, the peanut butter retains a slight hint of its own flavor, but also adds a deep richness that makes this simple supper something more exotic and different.
Someone said they have seen robins. Remember spring begins March 20!
Chinese Chicken and Noodles with Peanut Sauce
1 pound snow peas
1 pound linguine (break in half before cooking)
1 ¼ pounds chicken breast – cooked, skinned, boned and cut in bite-size chunks
1 bunch green onions, sliced crosswise
½ bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
2 fresh Jalapeno chilis, seeded and minced
1 cup soy sauce
½ cup smooth peanut butter
½ cup rice vinegar
½ cup sesame oil
2 tablespoons sugar
For serving: Cabbage or lettuce leaves
Steam snow peas until just crisp tender (about 1 minute). Rinse with cold water to chill. Cut in thin strips lengthwise. Set aside.
Cook linguine according to package directions. Drain. Rinse with cold water to chill. Drain again. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add chicken chunks, onions, cilantro, chilis and snow peas.
For the dressing, measure all ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well until mixture is smooth.
When ready to serve, pour dressing over salad and toss to combine. (Noodles will absorb some of the dressing.) Serve chilled or at room temperature over cabbage or lettuce leaves.