I’m kind of obsessed with the orange dressing at Japanese restaurants.
I will always want the salad, despite the fact that they’re charging $5 for no more than iceberg lettuce, a few carrot sticks, and maybe a couple of cherry tomatoes thrown on top. I’m essentially paying five bucks for orange dressing.
So I’m sitting there, enjoying my bright orange dressing, and I’m thinking…what is this? There must be some kind of unnatural chemical processing thing going on–some Red #40 and Yellow #5–to make this dressing so orange. And so good.
Well, imagine my surprise when Kaitlin tells me that she made this carrot ginger dressing the other day, and that it was DELICIOUS. I’m like, “Carrot Ginger dressing, really?”
And she goes, “yeah, like the kind you get at the sushi restaurants.”
Carrots. That’s the secret to the neon orange in my neon orange dressing.
Nature is glorious.
I immediately decided to make it at home, and after some research and a quick tweaking of recipes (the base I used was Chef Tadashi Ono’s recipe featured here on Saveur), I have achieved my perfect Carrot Ginger dressing.
But the best part is…I get to choose the vehicle. No more limp iceberg. A nectarine salad is the rule of the day.
This nectarine salad is summer on a plate–ripe nectarines, crunchy summer radishes, sweet corn, basil, and mint. We definitely eat a lot more seasonally in Beijing, where the growing season really does directly affect what we see at the local market.
Make it, and enjoy a perfect, healthy sunny afternoon lunch.
Make the dressing by combining the vegetable oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, ginger, carrot, onion, and salt and pepper in a food processor and pulsing until smooth.
Pat the chicken breasts dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
Sear them in a hot pan drizzled with olive oil until cooked through. Slice the chicken.
Toss together the lettuces, corn, radishes, red onion, and nectarines in a large serving bowl. Top with the sliced chicken, basil leaves, and toasted walnuts, and drizzle with your dressing.
You can also toss the lettuce in the dressing first, and then throw all the toppings over the salad.
Some really bright flavors going on here. Live it and love it, people!
Until next time…
Nectarine Salad with Seared Chicken & Carrot Ginger Dressing
For the dressing:
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 dash sesame oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons ginger (finely grated)
- 1 medium carrot (peeled and roughly chopped)
- ¼ cup onion (roughly chopped)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
For the salad:
- 2 chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- Olive oil
- Assorted lettuce
- 2 ears steamed sweet corn (kernels removed from the cob)
- 1 bunch radishes (sliced thinly)
- 1 small red onion (sliced thinly)
- 4 nectarines (sliced)
- a handful of fresh basil (torn)
- a handful of mint (torn)
- 1 cup walnuts (toasted)
- Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients in a food processor and pulsing until smooth.
- Pat the chicken breasts dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Sear them in a hot pan drizzled with olive oil until cooked through. Slice the chicken.
- Toss together the lettuces, corn, radishes, red onion, and nectarines in a large serving bowl. Top with the sliced chicken, basil leaves, and toasted walnuts, and drizzle with your dressing.