Apr 21st, 2005
I had an enjoyable dinner the other night. My plate was awash in culinary confusion, as Mexico sidled up to Asia, who in turn nuzzled with Italy. But it worked for me, call it fusion, call it confusion, call it whatever you want, but the tastes were complimentary and it was what I wanted right then and there. As much as I love cookbooks, I have to acknowledge every now and then that often the meals I love the most are those where I follow my own whims and make what sounds good to me. Oddly enough, I think less of a meal if I made it without a recipe. Sometimes that is warranted I guess, as it means we're having the same old uninspired piece of meat and side vegetable again. But I have developed some good kitchen instincts in all this obsessive cookbook following, so I should listen to them more often.
So my dinner consisted of an Open-Faced Chicken Sandwich with Spinach and Salsa, Rice Vinegar and Sesame Spinach w/ Carrot and Onion, and Balsamic Vinegar Strawberries.
For the sandwich, lightly toast one slice of good bread - I used French loaf bread. Add a slice or two from a baked chicken breast, ideally still warm from the oven. Layer a few spoonfulls of good salsa on the chicken and sprinkle with thinly sliced red onion and a chiffonade of spinach. Sprinkle lightly with grated Jack cheese. Place in a hot oven on a cookie sheet for a few minutes until the cheese melts.
For the vegetables, chop half a red onion and one carrot into matchsticks. Saute with a clove of minced garlic over medium-high heat in a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add a few drops of sesame oil to taste. After 3 or 4 minutes sprinkle with salt and rice vinegar. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until onions are soft. Add one bunch washed spinach and a tablespoon or 2 of oyster sauce if desired. Remove pan from heat after 30 seconds or so and continue stirring until the spinach is wilted and all the ingredients are combined.
Sprinkle some washed and sliced strawberries with good balsamic vinegar and put a few on your plate with the sandwich and spinach. Eat the rest afterwards with plain yogurt drizzled with honey.