The cucumbers in this recipe are slightly crushed under the broad part of the blade of a knife. This breaks the skin of the cucumber creating a craggy surface to allow the hot sesame oil and dressing to seep in instead of slide off. Listen for the sizzle as the hot oil hits the cold chicken.
Ingredients: the vinaigrette
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon rice wine or wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1. Mix the soy sauce, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar and peppercorns in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for one minute and set aside.
Ingredients: the chicken
4 cups water
2 chicken breast halves, skin on (6-8 ounces each)
3 slices of ginger, ¼ inch thick
1 medium onion, sliced
3 of English cucumbers (or one large cucumber, peeled and seeded)
2 large tomatoes, cut into eighths
5 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup sesame oil
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Large dish for serving
Directions: the chicken
1. In a medium size pot, bring water, ginger and onion to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the chicken breasts. Cook for 15 minutes.
2. Turn off the heat and let chicken sit in hot liquid for 10 minutes. When cool place chicken and stock in a bowl and refrigerate until chilled (at least one hour).
3. Lightly scrape the skin of the cucumber with a paring knife.
4. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and then into 2-inch chunks.
5. Place a chunk of cucumber under the broad part of a kitchen knife. With your fist, hit the top of the blade once, and crush the cucumber. Repeat with remaining pieces.
6. On a large serving platter, make a layer of the crushed cucumbers.
7. Remove the cold chicken from the stock and slice, skin side up, on a diagonal. Place on top of the cucumbers.
8. Surround the chicken with the tomato wedges and top with scallions.
9. In a stainless steel ladle or small pot heat the sesame oil on a low flame until bubbles appear – approximately one minute. Turn off the heat and pour the oil evenly over the scallions and chicken.
10. Strain the soy vinaigrette and drizzle over the chicken and vegetables.