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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Asian Pesto Chicken Salad

For my mom's 60th birthday this year, I got us tickets to go see Ming Tsai cook an elaborate meal. We sat right in front of him, we were his guests for dinner, complete with yummy cocktails, great wine and unbelievable food. He showed us how to do it all and it was undoubtedly one of the most exciting event my mom and I have attended in a very long time. We love this guy! I bought one of his cookbooks and I've been quickly making my way through it. Most of the recent recipes are his and are definitely worth trying -they're easy and great for summer eating...

Asian Pesto
1 jalapeno
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 TB minced ginger
1/2 cup peanuts
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup packed basil leaves
1/2 cup packed mint leaves
1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves
salt and pepper

Chicken and Orzo
1 cup uncooked orzo
2 boneless chicken breasts
3/4 cups Asian Pesto
1 pt cherry tomatoes, halved
Juice of 1 lemon
1 package of baby spinach

1. Salt and pepper the chicken breasts and either grill (this is highly recommended) or broil in the oven until cooked. When done, cut into small cubes

2. Bring a large saucepan of water to boil and cook the orzo until just tender (about 10 minutes). When done, drain and rinse with cold water.

3. Combine the first 6 ingredients and half of the olive oil in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add the basil, mint and cilantro and blend while slowly adding the rest of the oil. Blend until a thick puree is formed and add salt and pepper.

4. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, orzo, tomatoes and pesto. Add the lemon juice and mix well.

5. Serve on a bed of baby spinach.

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