Bean Sprout Salad

This refreshing cold dish is often made with shredded poached chicken breast, but in deference to the start of Lent, here is a vegetarian version. You can find bean sprouts in Asian markets and, more and more often, in the Asian vegetable section of conventional stores. Be sure to pick sprouts that look clean and crisp – they shouldn’t be waterlogged or droopy.

ingredients:

  • 1 medium carrot, peeled, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 medium stalk celery, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 lb bean sprouts, root ends pinched off
  • 1/2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted, a mix of black and white is prettiest

dressing:

  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • freshly ground white or black pepper to taste

method:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  2. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. When the water boils, blanch and shock the vegetables – you should do them each separately so that each one is blanched just until crisp tender – do not overcook! Remove from the ice water and allow to drain for 15 m.
  4. Combine the vegetables with the dressing, mixing gently with your hands.
  5. Place in a serving bowl, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve.

variation:

You can add 1 poached, shredded chicken breast in step 4 – increase the dressing ingredients to taste.

do ahead:

The vegetables (and optionally, chicken) can be cooked and refrigerated for up to 1 day ahead. Bring to room temperature before combining with dressing.

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