Sunday, April 3, 2011

Open Sesame Chicken!

I've definitely been bitten by the spring cleaning bug. In the past two weeks, I've delivered two huge shopping bags full of stuff to Goodwill. Today's donation included a big stack of cookbooks I've either never opened, or use so rarely that they're not worth space on the shelf. But in the process of eliminating those cookbooks, I came across a few gems I had forgotten about!

One was Tyler's Ultimate, which has a hundred awesome recipes ... none of which I've ever made! So I picked a few out for this week, including Sesame Chicken Salad with Spinach and Cucumber. And to serve alongside it, Broccoli and Sesame Rice, a recipe I found in Real Simple magazine.

Sesame Chicken Salad with Spinach and Cucumber
1/4 cup soy sauce
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups panko
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
4 cups spinach leaves
1 cucumber, sliced thinly
1 scallion, white and green part, sliced

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

Toast 2 tablespoons of the sesame seeds in a small dry skillet until fragrant, a minute or two. 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 have 2 thin fillets. Repeat with remaining breasts. Put the chicken on a platter, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette, 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 1/4 cup sesame seeds in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. Mix with your fingers so the seasoning is incorporated. Dredge the chicken in the crumbs, patting gently so the crumbs adhere.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Line a platter with paper towels. 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 remaining chicken.

Put the spinach in a bowl with the cucumber, scallion and a tablespoon of the toasted sesame seeds. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss to coat. Plate with the chicken and sprinkle with remaining sesame seeds.

Broccoli Sesame Rice
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup long-grain white rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups broccoli, finely chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

Bring water, rice and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, turn heat to low, and allow to simmer for 12 minutes. Spinkle broccoli on top of rice, cover, and continue to cook 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and toss with scallions and sesame seeds. Serve.

All I can say is that Tyler can't miss. Everything he cooks on TV looks so amazing, and if this recipe is any indication, everything in this book is going to be amazing, too. My knife skills aren't stellar, so my chicken "fillets" were a bit uneven. This made getting the cooking time right a little tricky, and a couple of the breasts ended up a bit dry. But the good ones were crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside!

It's been hard to get back in the swing of things since returning from Vegas and we've been eating out way too often. So I promise that this week I'll be posting much more regularly because the restaurant visits have got to stop! I like my own cooking so much better :)


  1. I totally agree... just about EVERYTHING Tyler makes looks amazing! Not least of all his holiday recipes. But really, I've never seen anything I didn't drool over. The chicken and the rice look stellar!

    I think the fact that you like your own cooking better than most restaurants is a sign of a talented chef :D And imagine the money you save doing that. There's no down side!

  2. Is Tyler's show even on any more? I haven't seen him in a long time, but I rarely get to watch the Food Network if it's not primetime (and they usually save the in-the-kitchen shows for daytime!).