Confession: I am addicted to the food rags. Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Cooking Light, Saveur, Cooks Illustrated, Food and Wine...I get them all. It makes my husband crazy, because he's always tripping over stacks of magazines, dog-eared with recipes I want to try. And I am slow about trying them, so the stack starts looking like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Eventually, he'll demand a "magazine purge," which means I actually have to take the time to rip out the recipes from the magazines. And then, of course, create another pile.
Some of the recipes actually get made, usually the ones that aren't overly fussy or complicated. Translation: I hardly ever make recipes from Food and Wine Magazine (the same used to apply to Gourmet magazine, but I think they're trying to reform...the recipes seem less hoity-toity lately).
I'm not sure why I even still get Food and Wine. Maybe I'm just compulsively afraid I'll miss out on that *one* recipe that will come along and rock my world if I cancel.
I was riffling through the latest pile of recipes (from magazines, I am ashamed to report, spanning from April-September) and came across one from, gasp, Food and Wine Magazine. It was so carelessly ripped that I couldn't even see which month's issue it was from, but it's a pretty summery recipe, so I'm sure it's fairly current.
This recipe was SO not typical Food and Wine fodder. It was incredibly simple, required no cooking and used, of all things, a rotisserie chicken from the deli. Mon Dieu! Sacrilege!
I know a lot of people are thinking Autumn right now, but it's still pretty warm here. The air conditioner is still churnin' at Chez T. I made the recipe on a steamy night and we just loved it.
Don't be put off by the "spicy" moniker in the title. It packs a bit of heat, but it's not overwhelming, and the avocado puts out any fire you'll feel. Promise.
And don't worry that it's, well, orange. It looks a little weird, but it's just the chile sauce talkin.' It may not be the most gorgeous chicken salad, but on a hot night, when you want something light, this will hit the spot.
Spicy Asian Chicken Salad Lettuce Cups from Food and Wine Magazine
1/2 cup mayonnaise* 2 teaspoons sambal oelek or Chinese chile-garlic sauce 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil One 2-pound rotisserie chicken--skin and bones discarded, meat pulled into bite-sized pieces 1/3 cup water chestnuts, coarsely chopped 2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 12 Bibb or iceberg lettuce leaves 1 Hass avocado, peeled and cut into 12 slices Lime wedges, for serving
In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, sambal oelek, mustard and sesame oil. Stir in the chicken, water chestnuts and scallions and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the chicken salad into the lettuce cups and top with a slice of avocado. Serve with lime wedges.
*Hubby isn't a big mayo guy, so I only used about 1/4 cup. It wasn't super-creamy that way, but the avocado on top added a little moisture, and we found it just fine that way.
F&W suggests pairing with a slightly sweet white wine, such as Reisling such as 2008 Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley or an off-dry Pinot Gris such as 2007 Hula Vineyards from New Zealand. They know a heck of a lot more about wine than I do, so I'd believe them.