Soft shreds of gently poached chicken intertwine with cool strips of cabbage, slivers of carrot, and loads of rau ram, an aromatic Vietnamese coriander. All bathe in the classic Vietnamese dressing of lime juice, fish sauce, chiles, garlic, and sugar. Topped with caramelized shallots, this fresh salad is a sure hit for a summer barbeque or dinner party. If you want a quick tasty (albeit non-authentic) Vietnamese style salad, use a store-bought roasted chicken this salad, and skip the poaching steps.–Robert Danhi
Poached Chicken and Cabbage Salad
6 to 8 servings
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Poach the chicken: In a 2-gallon pot, add enough water to cover chicken. Bring to a vigorous boil, then lower to a simmer. Skim off any impurities that rise to the surface and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover the pot and allow it to rest at room temperature for 45 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
Carefully lift the bird from the poaching liquid and plunge it into ice water. Leave the chicken in the water for 10 minutes. (This stops the cooking and firms up the meat.) Pull off the skin and discard. Pull the meat from the breast, thighs, and legs, tearing it into 1/4- to 1/2-inch wide strips. Set aside 1 pound for the salad.
Transfer the chicken to a covered container and reserve at room temperature. (Optional: recombine bones and poaching liquid, add a few aromatics such as onions, ginger, and lemongrass, and simmer one hour to make a stock for soup or other use).
Toss the cabbage and salt together let rest for 15 minutes, then squeeze out all excess moisture.
To make the dressing, whisk together the garlic, lime juice, fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, and black pepper in a large bowl.
To serve, add the sliced onions, carrots, cabbage, and chicken to the dressing. Toss gently until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning before folding in the herbs. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with the shallots.
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Poached Chicken and Cabbage Salad Recipe © 2008 Robert Danhi. Photo © 2008 Robert Danhi. All rights reserved. All materials used with permission.