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Chinese Five Spice Chicken Endive Salad

Have you ever come home from an afternoon out and about to find a surprise package resting on your front doorstep?  You know you didn’t order anything, it’s not Christmas, and your birthday isn’t for another couple weeks.   As you carry it inside, the curiosity is beginning to build.  Maybe your husband bought something you didn’t know about.  Perhaps it’s the favorite toy your five year old left behind by accident at grandma’s house during the last visit.

You tear into the packaging, slowly at first and then with a bit more determination.  You finally wrestle the package open and find a most unexpected treat.

A gorgeous, edible endive bouquet from California Vegetable Specialties.

I must admit, endive is not typically a staple in our house so, upon first glance, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it.  Being the fervent foodie that I am, I quickly dove into the internet and scoured my cookbooks for different and unique taste pleasing ideas.  Most recipes seemed to involve some sort of stuffing or dipping of the raw leaves.   If you can dip or stuff them, then why not use them in a salad?  I’d been craving Asian food  for the past couple days, so I settled on a main course version using ground chicken.  Three helpings later, I knew I made the right decision.

Just a note before diving in that you will need Chinese Five Spice Powder for this recipe.  It can typically be found in either the spice or Asian sections of your grocery store.  Don’t substitute if you can help it; the unique flavor of this spice really makes the dish.

Begin by heating up a little oil on medium high heat in a large skillet.  Add in some fresh ginger, garlic and onion.

Cook for a couple minutes and then add in a hearty cupful of chopped mushrooms to the fray.

Give them a minute to cook and then drop in a pound of ground chicken.

Toss in a little fresh chopped mint….

… followed by the five spice powder and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Turn the heat down to a simmer and divert your attention the endive.

To prepare, you’ll chop off the end, slice it in half the long way and then julienne it into thin long pieces.  Cut the pieces in half through the middle and spread on your plate or bowl.

For the dressing you’ll shake together a few Asian flavors including sesame oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce and lime juice.

Ladle a healthy spoonful of the hot chicken over the top of your endive.  Drizzle a little dressing over the salad and sprinkle with a handful of sliced almonds.

Who knew a surprise bouquet could be so fabulously delectable?

Chinese Five Spice Chicken Endive Salad

Yield: 4 Meal Sized Salad Servings

Total Time: 40 min

Ingredients:

For the Salad:

1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp Canola Oil
1 Onion, Chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
11/2 Inch Chunk Ginger, Diced
1 Cup Fresh Mushrooms, Chopped
1 Pound Ground Chicken
12-15 Mint Leaves, Chopped
1 tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder
1/8 tsp Salt and Pepper
4 Endives, Julienned
Slivered Almonds for Sprinkling over the Top

For the Dressing

3 Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
1 tsp Oyster Sauce
1 tsp Sugar
1/4 Lemon, Juiced (about 1 tsp)

Directions:

Begin by heating up the oils in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Add in the onion, garlic, ginger and mushrooms. Cook for a minute or two.

Drop in the ground chicken and continue to cook.

When the chicken is cooked halfway through, toss in the five spice powder and the salt/pepper.

Let the chicken cook completely through and then turn down to a simmer to keep warm.

Grab up the endives and slice them julienne. You'll do this by removing the stems, slicing them in half the long way and then slicing 1/2" thick slices the long way. When finished, cut through the middle to halve the slices. Repeat with remaining halves and add to your salad plate/bowl.

For the dressing, mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, oyster sauce, sugar and lemon.

Heap a hearty helping of the warm chicken over the top of the endive and drizzle the shaken dressing over the top.

Finish with a handful of slivered almonds sprinkled generously over the salad.