We have warm spells here in Vermont, but nothing like the West Coast is current experiencing. However, when it gets “warm” in Vermont – it is hot to us, we’re used to cold weather, not warm. So, I went to the recipes and chilled wine section of our cellar and came up with a dinner of Sesame-Lime Chicken Salad, and a bottle or two of a very chilled Vinho Verde. I found the recipe on Real Simple – you can find it here: Sesame-Lime Chicken Salad. or you can continue reading – to see how I changed it up. Here is my recipe:
Sesame-Lime Chicken Salad
- Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, sugar, sesame oil, chili, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper in a large bowl.
- Add the lettuce, carrots, and chicken and toss to combine.
- Serve the salad sprinkled with the sesame seeds, noodles, and cilantro.
I switched up the canola oil for Persian Lime Olive Oil. If you don’t have the special lime olive oil, any good extra virgin olive oil will work. I also added roasted walnuts for extra crunch, and extra cilantro in the dressing for more flavor. You can add whatever you want, apples, bamboo shoots, dried cranberries, whatever you have in your pantry.
The key to this particular recipe for hot weather is to use an already roasted chicken. I looked at our weather forecast and got two roasted chickens. There is no way a roasted chicken is going to go uneaten in our house. So, to make sure I had enough chicken for this recipe, I got two chickens. Let El Hub eat what he thought he needed to pick off the chicken and then used the remaining chicken for this salad.
I also garnished this salad with a few of the candied jalapeño peppers we keep in the refrigerator. Okay, I’ll give you this recipe we have for jalapeño mayo. We do not make a lot of the mayo, but if you do, it is perfect for sandwiches (especially egg salad), and steamed veggies such as asparagus and broccoli.
Candied Jalapeño Mayo
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
- 2 medium jalapeños, stemmed and cut into ¼-inch rounds
- 2 medium red peppers such as chili, cayenne or serrano peppers, stemmed and cut into ¼-inch rounds
1 cup mayonnaise
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1. In a small saucepan, bring the sugar, water, jalapeños and Fresnos to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the peppers have softened and are saturated with the syrup, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely in the syrup.
- 2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peppers to a mini food processor and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl and whisk in the mayo. Season with salt, then use right away or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Now, when I make the candied jalapeños, I do not always use them in mayonnaise. I usually just chop them up and add them to a salad, nachos, on top of whatever is being served. We save some of the simple syrup for cocktails (Margaritas are really good with this in it), or even in the water for pasta that I want to have an added kick.
Okay – so you have your chicken salad, and you have your pepper to spice things up, well, what wine do you open to pair with this? If it’s hot weather outside, I always open a White Vinho Verde.
With its effervescence and light sparkle, a White Vinho Verde is always a good choice when the weather is hot (or even warm). White Vinho Verdes are light and fresh, the name alone is connotative of green. Coming from Portugal, the white Vinho Verdes are perfect for the summer hot days.
By favorite go-to all time favorite Vinho Verde is made by Broadbent. This is not too difficult to find, and you should find it for about $9.00 per bottle. Vinho Verde’s are not the least expensive bottle on the shelf, but you should not be paying more than $15.00 per bottle, depending on where you live. Broadbent also makes a great Gruner Veltliner, but that’s another story (however, if you’re looking for a light and lively wine for the summer, check it out).
Another very pleasant Vinho Verde wine is Arca Nova Vinho Verde. This one is a bit drier than the Broadbent, but just as tasty.
So – the next time you’re wondering what to serve when the weather is just too hot to cook, get two roasted chickens from your local grocery store (or use up that left over chicken breast you grilled the other day), mix up a tasty sesame lime cilantro dressing and make a dinner that is high in protein, low in fat and calories – and grab that Vinho Verde that you’ve been chilling in the refrigerator. Enjoy!