Last summer, my husband and I went to Vermont for a lovely weekend. We stopped in Quechee in the way home. Have you been there? It is an adorable town. One of us was very excited to visit the Simon Pearce Mill, and one of us was not shy or quiet about the lack of enthusiasm (in other words, dragged). Nevertheless, both of us had a GREAT time there. We loved watching the potters and glass-blowers hard at work. We also had a fantastic lunch at the Simon Pearce Restaurant at the Mill. Everything about the meal was so lovely. The setting is gorgeous, over-looking the gorge. And the Simon Pearce table settings are beautiful. I think they were even noted by the one of us who was dragged. We had the Sesame Chicken with Spicy Dipping Sauce, and still fondly remember it a year later!
Naturally, you can imagine my excitement at finding the recipe in Rachael Ray's travel guide: Rachael Ray: Best in Eats in Town on $40 a Day. It was just as delicious at home, though I lightened and streamlined the recipe a little to make it healthier and quicker. The original recipe is located at the Simon Pearce website, and if you are curious, you can find it here. I made less chicken since it is just the two of us, but made the full recipe for the marinade. I reserved some of the marinade BEFORE putting it on the raw chicken, and then used that to dress the greens and noodles. This is a really tasty meal! I made the marinade and dipping sauce ahead of time, and marinated the chicken over night. When I got home to make dinner, all I had to do was to cook up the chicken tenders and pasta, which took 30 minutes. It was totally feasible for a week-night.
Sesame Chicken with Spicy Dipping Sauce
adapted from Rachael Ray: Best Eats in Town on $40 A Day
Sesame Chicken Strips
1 small onion, cut into 1 inch chunks
3 cloves garlic
1 1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger
1/3 cup lemon juice
4 tsp olive oil
3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp orange juice
1/2 Tbsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 lb chicken tenders
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 cup all-purpose flour
tender, young greens for serving
1. In a food processor, combine the onion, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, olive oil, soy sauce, orange juice, crushed red pepper, sugar, and salt. Puree to make a thick marinade/vinaigrette. Divide the mixture in half. (This is important; you cannot use the marinade that the raw chicken has been in to dress the pasta/greens.)
2. Combine the chicken tenders with 1/2 the marinade in a plastic container or large Ziploc bag. Shake and stir to coat. Marinade in the fridge overnight.
3. The next day, combine the flour and sesame seeds in a shallow dish. Pre-heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat, and coat the pan with cooking spray.
4. Dredge the chicken tenders in the sesame-flour mixture. Add the chicken to the hot pan, and cook for about 4 minutes on each side, until the chicken has begun to brown and is cooked through.
13 oz thin whole-grain spaghetti
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced
4 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions, in salted water.
2. Drain, and toss with the scallions, cilantro, sesame oil, and soy sauce.
Spicy Apricot Sauce
2 cup apricot jam
1/2 cup light balsamic vinaigrette
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup white wine
1. Boil down the white wine until it reduces by half. Lower the heat to medium.
2. Add the remaining ingredients. Cook over medium heat until the jam melts, and whisk until smooth.
3. Allow to cool to room temperature to serve. If it becomes too thick while cooling, add a little water.
To serve: arrange the noodles and greens side by side on a large plate. Drizzle with the reserved marinade (not the marinade used for the chicken). Arrange chicken strips on top of the noodles, and serve a small bowl of the dipping sauce on the side.
I am linking this post to one of my favorite features on one of my favorite food blogs -- Saturdays with Rachael Ray over at Taste and Tell. Do check it out!