Anyone can make something for dinner; it’s re-purposing the leftovers in a new way that makes things interesting. When I made Coconut Chix Stix for dinner the other evening, I managed to restrain myself and had a couple left over. Amazingly.
Just as I’ll put practically anything between bread and call it a sandwich, I’ll do the same with greens and call it a salad. So I shredded some cabbage, thinly sliced an apple, and tossed them both together with the leftover dipping sauce. After re-crisping the stix in the oven, I sliced them up and arranged them over the top. A quick lunch or dinner doesn’t get much simpler.
I used savoy cabbage. It straddles the middle of a line that extends from tight, dense conventional green or purple cabbage at one end to large, loose, frilly Napa cabbage at the other. Savoy has a touch of frilliness with the sturdiness of green cabbage, with a bit deeper color. It stands up well to the spicy dipping sauce.
I had about 1/2 cup (4 ounces or so) of leftover sauce. I removed 1/4 of the cabbage head, leaving the rest intact because it will last longer in the refrigerator that way. After I cut out the core, I shredded it finely – a good sharp knife will get it to a nice 1/8″ thickness – and tossed it with the sauce, Then it sat for about 20 minutes to tenderize a bit.
I set the leftover stix in a cast iron skillet and recrisped them at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes. I wasn’t trying to reheat them; rather, I wanted to take off some of their chill and crisp up the coconut-Panko coating which had softened in the refrigerator. I certainly didn’t want to re-cook them, or else they would be tough and dry.
While the stix were in the oven, I quartered, cored and thinly sliced an apple, a Gala, I think, and tossed it with the cabbage and sauce. I also chopped up a handful of cilantro to add to the mix. Cilantro is one of the few herbs whose leaves and stems that can be chopped up together because the latter are very tender (unlike parsley, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, etc). If you add either the apple or the cilantro too soon, the acids in the sauce will break them down and cause the salad to be watery. Also thinly slice a couple of scallions to garnish the salad at the end.
As I was getting ready to take the final photograph, I realized that I’d tossed the scallions with the rest of the salad ingredients, and had saved the cilantro to garnish. Oh well, in the ultimate scheme of life, it made very little difference. Call it a 30-minute dinner. A great 30-minute dinner.
As an aside, let me mention that if you omit the chicken, the salad is both vegetarian (obviously) and also vegan. And thanks to my sweet friend, Linda, for planting the idea of the salad in the first place.