As the summer season quickly comes to a close, taking a couple of bites out of the remaining days of it with these Thai Chicken Salad Wonton Cups is a cool and light way to go.
To tell you that I am completely “over” the heat of the long, summer season would be an understatement.
Though it is not yet officially fall for a few more days, my eyes are already eagerly and hungrily searching out the evening skies for evidence of the pinkish-purple, orange, and golden hues that only the fall season can produce; and I'm finding myself willing the summer to opt for a shortened stay this year, and for the fall and its gentle and beautiful mildness to flow in just a little early, if it'd be willing to.
The daylight of the summer season is a wonderful thing, as well as its juicy and fragrant, colorful and refreshing produce; but living on the west coast where the heat can be unrelenting and extremely unmerciful, this is a time of year that I, personally, would prefer to experience in shorter increments, and in fewer bites.
See, I'm a fall girl through and through.
I love the abundance of fiery colors it so brilliantly and naturally produces, and the cooler, fresher air that it ushers in for me to be able to take deep, satisfying breaths from, and drink in.
But since we're not quite yet in the embrace of the fall season, I may as well allow my taste buds to enjoy the lighter and brighter fare for just a little longer while the heat continues to dig its heals in for the time being, stubborn as it seems to be.
When the days are long and hot, simplicity is what is preferred when it comes to delectable bites.
A cool, crisp, flavorful and vibrant salad is a wonderful way to go, and serving it in the form of a two-bite treat, makes it a bit more whimsical and fun to enjoy.
Thai Chicken Salad with its crisp greens, tender shredded chicken, bright and sweet grated carrots, crunchy and toasty peanuts, and fragrant and mildly sweet-spicy peanut sauce, is a mighty tasty way to celebrate the last remaining days of summer; but spoon that scrumptious salad into golden, crispy-baked, and bite-sized wonton cups, and you have a precious little offering not only for yourself, but for others, all in the spirit of sharing.
It's a light snack, or even meal, that keeps one cool, refreshed, and satiated in a healthful and delicious way.
So while that uniquely glimmering twilight of fall makes its way ever-closer to us over these next several weeks, I'll continue to try and stay as patient as possible, while keeping myself as cool, comfy, and well-nourished as I can until these last little bites of summer fade away into the fall sunset.
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Thai Chicken Salad Wonton Cups with Peanut Sauce Dressing
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Makes 24 wonton cups
• 24 won ton squares (typically found in the cold section near the tofu and fresh noodle soups)
• Cooking spray
• 1 ¼ cups shredded, cooked chicken breast (about 4 tenderloins—*see note below)
• ¼ cup shredded purple cabbage
• ¼ cup shredded napa cabbage
• ¼ cup finely sliced baby bok choy (about 1 small)
• 1 small carrot, grated
• 1 tablespoon green onions
• 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
• Spicy Peanut Dressing (recipe below)
• ¼ cup crushed peanuts
(*I poached my chicken tenderloins in simmering, salted water for about 6-7 minutes, or until cooked through yet tender; then cool the chicken, and shred by hand.)
-Preheat your oven to 350°, and generously spray two mini-muffin tins with cooking spray (24 cups).
-Take each won ton square, dust off any excess corn starch, and carefully press into the mini-muffin molds; spray the won ton squares with cooking spray, and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until golden-brown and crispy; allow to cool slightly, then remove from muffin tins to cool completely before filling.
-Prepare the salad by adding the chicken, plus the remainder of the ingredients up to and including the chopped cilantro, to a bowl; add in about 2 tablespoons of the Spicy Peanut Dressing, plus about half of the crushed peanuts (about 2 tablespoons worth), and gently toss to coat.
-Add equal amounts of the Thai Peanut Chicken Salad to each cup, then drizzle each with a little extra dressing on top, and sprinkle over a little of the remaining crushed peanuts over each as garnish; serve immediately.
(If you'd like to prepare this ahead, you can make the salad but don't toss with the dressing—just keep it cold in the fridge; when ready to serve the cups, toss the greens with dressing, and spoon into won ton cups in order to keep them crisp, cool, and fresh.)
Spicy Peanut Sauce Dressing Ingredients:
• ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 2 small cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
• 1-2 teaspoons sriracha sauce (more or less depending on spice level desired)
• 1 tablespoon canola oil
• 1 tablespoon water
-Place all ingredients into a bowl, and whisk together until completely smooth and combined; use immediately, or keep in a covered container in fridge until ready to use.