Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Chicken-Nugget Salad with Warm Sesame-Ginger Dressing

Chicken nuggets aren’t just fast food for kids. They can be tasty, inviting, even light morsels for adult palates too.

Lean chicken breast lightly coated and baked instead of fried adds up to a more healthful dish—and one that’s easy to put together. Here I used the crispy nuggets to top fresh, crunchy salads finished with a warm, aromatic dressing that tastes as good as it smells.

Serve with crusty bread and dry white wine for a complete, casual, big-flavored dinner for grown-ups.

Serves 5


For the Dressing
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp peeled, finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 red Thai chile, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
For the Salad
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1-1/2 cups panko (or other fine, dry breadcrumbs)
  • 3/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized nuggets
  • 5 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
  • 1 cup thinly, diagonally sliced peeled carrot
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery (reserve celery leaves for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts
  • unsalted peanuts, for garnish (toasted, if raw)
Chicken Ready to Bread
Salad Ingredients

For the Dressing
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Transfer the dressing to a small saucepan and warm gently over low heat. (May also be made a few hours or 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate and warm gently before serving.)
Pureed Dressing 
Warm Sesame-Ginger Dressing
For the Salad
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the cornstarch in a heavy, sealable plastic bag. Whisk the eggs and milk in a shallow bowl. Combine the panko, cheese, salt, and pepper and spread on a plate or in a baking dish.
  3. Place the chicken nuggets in the bag with the cornstarch. Seal and shake until the pieces are well coated. 
  4. Remove the nuggets, shaking off any excess cornstarch, and dip in the egg. Let excess egg drip off and roll the nuggets in the panko mixture, coating all over.
Egg-Coated Chicken Ready to Bread
  1. Lay the nuggets on the baking sheet and bake until beginning to brown, 10 minutes.
  2. Turn and bake until browned and crispy, 8-9 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes.
Nuggets Ready to Bake
Nuggets after Turning
  1. Place the lettuce, carrot, celery, and water chestnuts in a large bowl and toss to combine.
  2. Divide the lettuce mixture among 5 plates or shallow bowls and divide the chicken nuggets on top.
Tossed Lettuce Mixture
To serve, drizzle each with warm dressing and garnish with peanuts and reserved celery leaves.

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