Friday, August 7, 2009

Sesame Chicken Salad with Spinach, Cucumber and Cilantro

Thanks to a wonderful coupon from Borders this past weekend, I acquired another Tyler Florence cookbook. I was trying to decide between Eat This Book and Tyler's Ultimate and ended up going with the latter choice. On the way home, I was flipping through the book and thought this chicken recipe would be a really great summer meal. It was light, not too much prep work involved, and I had almost all of the ingredients in my cupboard. A real shocker, since I almost never have the ingredients Tyler cooks with. This is partly my fault, though. When I make up my own recipes I'm not very out of the box. Now that I have been cooking with Tyler Florence Fridays, I find it more and more exciting to venture into the kitchen.

Sesame Chicken Salad with Spinach, Cucumber and Cilantro
Tyler's Ultimate by Tyler Florence

1/4 c soy sauce
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon fresh red pepper flakes

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups panko
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
A couple good handfuls of stemmed spinach leaves (4 cups)
1 cucumber, unpeeled, cut crosswise into thin slices
handful of fresh cilantro leaves
1 scallion, white and green part, sliced
cracked black pepper

In a bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, sugar and red pepper flakes for the dressing.

Toast 2 tablespoons of the sesame seeds in a small dry skillet until fragrant, a minute or two, then set aside.

Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Put a chicken breast on the cutting board and, holding a large knife parallel to the board, cut through the breast horizontally so that you get 2 fillets. Repeat with the 3 remaining breasts. Put the chicken on a platter, drizzle two tablespoons of the dressing, and toss to coat. Set the rest of the vinaigrette aside. Let the chicken marinate for about 10 minutes.

Combine the panko and the remaining sesame seeds in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. Mix with your fingers so that the seasoning is incorporated and then taste it; the panko should be well seasoned. Dredge the chicken in the seasoned bread crumbs, patting the crumbs gently so that they adhere.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Line a platter with paper towels and set that to the side of the stove. Add about half of the chicken to the pan and cook about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crispy. Remove the chicken to the towel-lined platter to drain while you cook the rest.

Put the spinach in a bowl with the cucumber, cilantro, scallion and a tablespoon of the toasted sesame seeds. To serve, arrange a mound of greens on a plate, set a piece of chicken on top, stack a few more greens on top, and finish with another piece of chicken. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Make 3 more plates this way and shower with the remaining tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds and cracked black pepper.

Servings: 4

The verdict is in on this one! As I guessed, it was very easy to prepare and a nice light meal for a Sunday dinner in the summer. The only thing we did differently was bread only one side of the chicken. We're trying to eat a little healthier, so this was our attempt to do that with this recipe. I also have a tip: If you make the vinaigrette ahead of time, make sure you whisk it really well right before serving. Otherwise, the spices will stick to the bottom and your dressing won't be as flavorful.

This is my submission to Tyler Florence Fridays this week. Please click below and check out all the other entries!


  1. Sounds like some of the best flavors all rolled into one! Delicious : ) I want so many's hard to choose which ones to get sometimes.

  2. Simple, yet delicious. Loving meal like this, especially good for summer.

  3. What a perfect meal for summer. I haven't tried this one yet, but have drooled over it in my book. Just trying to figure out how to trick Larry into eating the cucumber.

  4. I tried this one too a while ago. So good--light and refreshing, great flavors.

  5. So light and flavourful for summer, what a great dish!

  6. This is a winner. Spinach and cucimbers with sesame chicken salad has to be delicious. You and Tyler make a good team.

  7. I know how to spell cucumbers even though I spelled it wrong.

    The dish is still great.