When I'm really hungry, the last thing I want to make is a salad and some dressing. There's just too much washing, grating, slicing, and so on. But it's not so hard to get a good meal of leafy greens if the salad is ready and waiting to be eaten -- and if there's a delicious piece of protein to top it.
I usually make an extra-large salad, then divide it into three portions. It's a cinch to grab on my way out the door so I don't have to buy lunch somewhere, or to pull out for dinner after a long day, when I don't feel like cooking. (I store the dressing on the side.)
My favorite salad to make ahead has:
red leaf lettuce
halved cherry tomatoes or chopped Romas
thinly sliced red onion
toasted sliced almonds or walnut pieces (add just before eating)
sliced kiwi (add just before eating)
Today, I'm going to make a sesame-crusted chicken breast for the salad. I don't like to cook chicken breast on the stove, so I usually just bake it in the oven, either brushed with a little oil or covered in salsa or a yogurt sauce. I'm not a fan of dredging in flour or coating with breadcrumbs; it seems too time-consuming, and it's hard to tell how hot the pan should be.
Taste-wise, though, a crusted piece of chicken -- or fish, for that matter -- is really a nice change once in a while, so I thought I would see how it went to make this at home.
I marinated the chicken for a couple hours before cooking it in a marinade I usually use for fish.
Asian marinade (for fish, chicken, or tofu)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/3 cup cooking sherry
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
Whisk ingredients together in a shallow dish, and add the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for two hours, turning the breasts once to coat.
Remove the chicken from the fridge and from the marinade. Discard the marinade. Use the chicken immediately for the following recipe.
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2/3 cup sesame seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (preferably marinated)
1 tablespoon canola oil
Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. (Make sure it's a NON-STICK skillet... I ruined two chicken breasts by cooking them in a cast-iron pan today! The sesame seed coating just stuck right to the bottom.) Combine the first three ingredients, and dredge the chicken breasts in them. Cook, covered, for about 7 minutes per side, or until there's no pink in the center of the meat.
The question of the day: Do you have a favorite dish to cook?
Tomorrow is Tortilla Tuesday! I will be making my sister's Spanish tortilla. You can, too, if you have 5 eggs, 4 medium potatoes, an onion, and plenty of olive oil, salt, and pepper.