Once a month my office has a potluck. The most recent one was this past Wednesday. I was actually off work for a couple days due to feeling under the weather, so I unfortunately missed the potluck, but since I'd made my addition to the festivities a couple days ahead of time, Juli was able to drop it off at my workplace. Juli and I only got to enjoy a few bites of this one, but when I returned to work several people had good things to say about the potluck in general, and my dish more specifically.
The theme for this latest potluck was "salads and healthy foods." My entry was a Sesame Noodle Salad with Shredded Chicken. I made this using a recipe from The New Best Recipe, which (along with the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook) has become one of my go-to cookbooks when I'm looking for solid recipes, as well as one of the first books I consult when I design recipes of my own. I made this one as written, save that I used pre-cooked Chinese egg noodles (bought frozen at an Asian grocery and thawed for use with this recipe) in place of fresh and used chili paste in place of hot pepper sauce. I also garnished the finished salad with some sliced almonds.
It's a pretty basic recipe, really. Noodles, shredded carrots, scallions, toasted sesame seeds and shredded bits of broiled chicken breast are tossed with a tasty dressing made of soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, chili pepper paste, brown sugar and peanut butter and served cold. Put simply, this salad is delicious. The sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds and peanut butter give the whole dish a rich, nut flavor and fragrance, enhanced with a bit of sweetness (courtesy the sugar and carrots) and heat (due to the pepper paste and garlic).