Crispy Wonton Chicken Salad
This dynamic chicken salad, starring crispy strips of fried wonton wrappers, draws inspiration from the wonton chicken salad at the soup and salad buffet chain Sweet Tomatoes, as well as the American Chinese chicken salads that pervaded chain-restaurant menus throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. In a supporting role, letting the crispy wontons shine, is the punchy dressing of peach preserves, rice vinegar, sesame oil and chili powder. The dressing’s low oil content – plus the addition of mayonnaise, which helps create an emulsion – means the salad greens stay crunchy and keep for longer. For the chicken, you can use any leftover meat or tear pieces from a store-bought rotisserie bird.
- Serves: 2 persons
- 3tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2tablespoons peach or apricot preserves
- 2tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1tablespoon soy sauce
- 1teaspoon chili powder
- ½teaspoon onion powder
- 8ounces cooked chicken meat, torn into bite-size pieces (2 cups)
- 8wonton wrappers (see Tip)
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 2romaine hearts, coarsely chopped
- 4scallions, coarsely chopped
- 1packed cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems
- 1packed cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
Step 1Make the dressing: In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sesame oil, peach preserves, mayonnaise, soy sauce, chili powder and onion powder, and season to taste with salt.
Step 2Prepare the salad: Add the chicken to the dressing and toss.
Step 3To fry the wonton wrappers, cut the squares into 1/2-inch strips, then cut those strips in half crosswise to shorten them. In a medium saucepan, heat an inch of oil over medium to 350 degrees, or until a wonton strip immediately bubbles when added. Carefully add the wonton strips to the hot oil and, stirring constantly with a slotted spoon, fry until puffy and golden, 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Transfer the crispy wontons to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt.
Step 4Assemble the salad: Add the chopped romaine, scallions, cilantro, mint and half of the fried wontons to the bowl with the dressed chicken, and toss to combine. Season with salt as needed. Top with the remaining fried wontons and serve immediately.