For a quick dinner fix, we sometimes make an ample amount of vinaigrette, divide it in half and use it both as a marinade for the main course and as a dressing for the side dish. Be careful to keep the two halves separate and never reuse any liquid that has been in contact with raw meat or seafood unless you boil it for a few minutes first.
- For the vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1/2 cup toasted Asian sesame oil
- 1/2 cup peanut oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 2-inch piece peeled ginger root, minced
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 medium cloves garlic
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced, or to taste
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- For the chicken and vegetables
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pressed to uniform thickness
- 4 tablespoons sesame seeds, preferably a mix of white and black
- 3 bell peppers, preferably a mix of colors, seeded and cut into very thin strips (may substitute carrots, bok choy or steamed snow peas)
For the vinaigrette: In a food processor or blender, combine all of the ingredients until emulsified. Set aside.
For the chicken: Place the chicken in a shallow bowl, drizzle with half of the vinaigrette and turn to coat both sides. Set aside for 30 minutes. Reserve the remaining vinaigrette.
Place the sesame seeds on a plate. Remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing any excess to drip off. Lightly coat the chicken with the sesame seeds on both sides. Discard the vinaigrette used as a marinade.
Heat a large skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken, turning once, until done, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and thinly slice on the diagonal.
In a large bowl, toss the peppers with the remaining unused vinaigrette. To serve, divide the chicken slices and the peppers among individual plates.
Adapted from "Dominique's Fresh Flavors: Cooking With Latitude in New Orleans" by Dominique Macquet and John DeMers (Ten Speed Press, $27.95).
Tested by Renee Schettler.
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