Chicken stir-fry salad with zesty orange dressing

FreeImages.com/Patrick Moore

Makes 4 servings

Chinese wheat-flour noodles tossed with Zesty Orange Dressing form a delectable foundation for a warm dish of stir-fried vegetables and chicken. If you wish, prepare the stir-fry and noodles in advance. Later the same day, serve both at room temperature atop a layer of shredded romaine lettuce, salad spinach, or mesclun.

For the dressing


1 teaspoon orange zest
½ cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons dark (Asian) sesame oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste

To complete the recipe


1 tablespoon canola oil
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½-inch strips
4 cups asparagus in 2-inch pieces
½ red bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch strips
2 scallions, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces thin Chinese wheat-flour noodles
Freshly ground pepper, toasted sesame seeds, and orange slices for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl; whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, asparagus, and bell pepper; stir-fry for about 5 minutes. Add the scallions and garlic; stir-fry for about 1 more minute. The chicken should be lightly browned and cooked through, the asparagus crisp-tender. Reduce the heat to low. Whisk the dressing; add about ¼ cup to the stir-fried mixture and stir gently until warm (the vinaigrette will evaporate if permitted to boil).

While the chicken and vegetables are cooking, add the noodles to the pot of boiling water. When the water returns to a boil, stir occasionally to separate the noodles. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until al dente, about 3 to 5 minutes, or according to package instructions. Drain and rinse well in cold water, then drain again.

Transfer the noodles to a medium bowl; add the remaining dressing and toss.

To serve, divide the noodles among 4 plates; top with the warm stir-fried chicken and vegetables or allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Advance preparation

The dressing will keep for up to 2 days in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator. The noodles, as well as the stir-fried chicken and vegetables, can be prepared and combined with the vinaigrette early the day they are to be served; cover and refrigerate separately. Allow the components to come to room temperature and assemble the salads just before serving.

Variation

When stir-frying, substitute for the asparagus and bell pepper or add other vegetables (up to 5 cups total) such as thin carrot strips, small broccoli florets, or snow peas.

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