We’re in the thick of graduation/wedding/shower season, and that means parties; usually at someone’s home; sometimes catered. But for those casual lunches or dinners that don’t really demand a ton of resources (say, 20 guests) you’re probably going to want to make a few things yourself. Whenever I’m asked to bring a salad over to a party, this is the dish I most frequently bring. I typically have most of the ingredients on hand, and for the ones I have to pick up at the store, I rarely spend more than $25. I think you (and the rest of the gang) are going to love it. How do I know? Because at last weekend’s soiree at a friend’s house, my notoriously picky niece and nephew (both of whom are under 12) devoured it.
Chinese Peanut Noodle Salad
2 lbs. linguine
¼ cup sesame oil
3 lbs. roasted chickens, skinned, boned and shredded (rotisserie birds will do just fine)
3 bunches green onions, sliced
2 bunches fresh cilantro, chopped
3 jalapeños, seeded, deveined, minced
1 pound snow peas, stringed, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 cup soy sauce
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup rice vinegar
½ cup sesame oil
2 Tbsp sugar
Napa cabbage leaves
Cook linguine in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Transfer to large bowl. Add sesame oil, toss to blend. Mix in chicken, onions, cilantro and chilies.
Cook snow peas in medium saucepan of boiling, salted water until just crisp-tender, about a minute. Drain. Rinse with cold water to cool, drain well. Mix into salad.
Combine soy sauce, peanut butter, vinegar, sesame oil and sugar in food processor/blender, blend until smooth.
Pour dressing over salad and mix with hands or tongs to blend well. Can be prepared a day ahead of time; cover and refrigerate. Line large platter with Napa cabbage leaves; mound salad over and serve.