As a child, learning to ride a bike came easily, the boundaries were finite (driveway to stop sign and back), and my dad handled all routine maintenance, from streamer installation to training wheel removal. Taking up bicycling after a hiatus from age fourteen- i.e., the age at which I began to have friends with cars- until last summer, I thought it wise to keep my goals equally simple. My grandpa gave me his vintage cruiser, and I checked off my to-do list: #1- immediately install an enormous basket on the back; #2- learn to ride in the street. This year, I plan to master left turns and simple bike repairs. So far, I am pleased to report that I am officially capable of inflating my tires as needed.
Yesterday, the first summer-like day in Chicago in recent memory, I set out to run errands by bicycle (yay!) for the first time this year, with high hopes and a superior attitude towards all the cars stuck in traffic heading to the beach. One hour and a not-very-interesting story later, I learned that, shockingly, after a winter of basement storage, the need for a tire pump was immediate. The point of all this being that, when I made my grocery list, I was full of ambition- heads of napa cabbage, organic carrots, a whole Amish chicken! By the time I arrived at Whole Foods sweaty and thirsty and found they were out of several requisite produce items, I scaled back my plans on the fly to a meal befitting the end of a holiday weekend. Coleslaw in a bag, shredded carrots- a lazy lady version, if you will.
This is one of those meant-to-be recipes where, reading the list of ingredients, the dish sounds more appetizing with every line. I stumbled upon the original while browsing one of my favorite food sites, David Lebovitz, and when I saw Smitten Kitchen‘s interpretation, I knew that somewhere in between the two lay my dream salad. Light, refreshing and simple, this is the perfect slaw for a hot day. You’ll only break a sweat if you overdo it on the crushed red pepper. One equipment note for veggie fiends: a julienne peeler, like this one, is handy tool if you want to do some shredding without a lot of knife work.
2 grilled chicken breasts
2 limes, juiced
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more, to taste)
2 ripe champagne mangoes, peeled and julienned
1 lb bag shredded coleslaw mix (or 1 head Napa cabbage, cored and sliced thinly)
Julienned carrots (from a bag is fine!)
1 small bunch radishes, thinly sliced
2 inch piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, thinly sliced
1/2 cup roasted, salted cashews, coarsely chopped
To prepare the chicken breasts: coat chicken breasts in dried chile pepper powder (not chili powder) and olive oil, and marinate overnight. Or, be lazy and seek instant gratification! I purchased pre-marinated chicken breasts (the cajun spice variety) at the Whole Foods meat counter for only $1 more. Or use leftover chicken.
Grill chicken breasts, transfer to a plate, and set in the refrigerator to cool. Slice thinly once cool.
To make the vinaigrette: whisk together lime juice, rice vinegar, grapeseed oil, and crushed red pepper. Set aside.
For the salad: toss mangoes, cabbage mix, a large handful of carrots, radishes, and ginger in a large bowl. Pour vinaigrette over slaw, top with sliced chicken, cilantro, and cashews, and toss to combine. The saltiness of the cashews will vary wildly, so be sure to taste, then salt.
Makes one party sized salad, or a main course for four.