Friday, March 19, 2010

Smoked Chicken Salad with Orange & Chili Sauces

When you get a wonderful cache of peppers from Marx Foods with the only proviso being to use your imagination and see what you can come up with… the possibilities that stretch before you are staggering. What can’t you do with dried peppers (I was going to say facials… but given the wonders that capsaicin can do for your circulation… even that might not be so bad -as long as you miss your eyes and nose!)??
Chili Photos from Marx Foods
I know by now all of you are familiar with the term Scoville Heat Units (SHU) to describe the heat in peppers. Bell peppers start at a dismal 0 and pure capsaicin tops out at 16,000,000 -- with pepper spray (yeah, the kind that cops use) coming in 500,000 to 5, 300.000 and the hottest pepper on the planet, the Bhut Jolokia at 855,000 to 1,050,000 (the jalapeno is a puny 2500-8000!) Humidity and soil play a great part in what part of the scale a particular pepper will take. * The heat scale is determined by human tests. The moment the heat appears in the tester’s mouth, the scale is set. Pure capsaicin is identifiable in 16 million parts of water!!!! Imperfect measuring to be sure, but an industry standard nonetheless.*
That said, Marx Foods sent me a package of medium heat chili. Being dried… the Scovilles seem to register higher that they do with the fresh variety since their chipotles (dry jalapenos) measure in at 25,000! With peppers this good you can smell how fresh they are… not like those sad peppers at the market in those little plastic packages that have been hanging there FOREVER! When I saw the Guajillo, New Mexico, Puya, Chipotle, Japones, smoked Serrano and De Arbol chilis, I knew I wanted to show them off in a fairly pure form… so I settled on a beautiful mole. Now, what else?
Madeleine Kamman, Photo by Lois Siegal
I thought I’d borrow from one of my favorite cookbook authors and legendary cooking teacher, Madeline Kamman who should be up there in the cook’s pantheon with Julia Child save for the fact she is so precise and brilliant (with a laser sharp, peregrine-fast mind and an insatiable curiosity about all things edible) that she might seem less accessible to the general audience than sweet, chicken-dropping Julia. Even she said "My own intensity has been a lifelong battle”, in a NYT interview with Molly O’Neill and wondered out-loud: ''I am French!'' she said in the interview in 1982. ''Why would they want an American 'French Chef'?''.
When I looked online to check into her history I discovered a legion of former students who will tell you she walks on water (and is the best cooking teacher ever) and that her classes changed their lives but also that she was one of the first of the Europeans to start playing with chili and lime and new world flavors. There we go, a connection! The Global Gourmet’s bio of her revealed that Kamman has been working at the stove since she was a teen, moving to the US when she got married in the 60’s after taking classes at Le Cordon Bleu. In the states she taught classes and opened a restaurant in Boston that was a real game-changer, named Chez la Mere Madeleine -- considered to be one of the finest in the country during its 1975-79 run. Although she has done many wonderful books, her most recent book The New Making of a Cook: The Art, Techniques, And Science Of Good Cooking
derives from her brilliant but much less ambitious The Making of a Cook, from the 70’s, a book I have had forever. It was always an amazing guidebook that explains why things work (or don’t) with charm and precision. The new version is an encyclopedia of cooking that teaches you what to do and most important, why things go wrong or right. A few of her recipes are among my favorites ever (I also love In Madeleine's Kitchen, she’s that good. I don't usually do this but I can't recommend buying her books enough... you will love them and I have linked to all of them on Amazon for you!!!
Many years ago (this is how I get in the history part), I started making this insanely good sauce of hers. I thought to myself, how would it be if I put a little heat into it? It is fabulous with the smoked chicken she recommended, avocado, orange slices and arugula… but I’ve also done it with smoked fish, duck and plain old chicken and turkey breast…honestly, I could see it with pork too. It’s that good. It is a riff on the famous orange sauce bigarade but without the meat stock element--with egg and oil and cream providing the body instead of reduced stock and flour so it is vegetarian ( I seem to be on an orange kick these days, don't I). I did make it with blood oranges instead of the regular Valencia. The taste is a little less sweet but I love it and the color of the orange sections is just too beautiful.
Orange Sauced Salad Inspired by the Inspiring Madeleine Kamman
Serves 4

½ c orange juice*
1 egg yolk
½ c dry Madeira or fino sherry
 ½ c virgin olive oil
juice of 2 lemons
½ t. lemon zest 
½ t orange zest
¼ c cream

2 avocados
 2 blood oranges (peeled and sectioned)
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
1 small garlic clove
1 green onion,
1 small red onion, sliced
salt to taste 
small bunch arugula
small radicchio

^ Mad Mole sauce ^
 1- 1 ½ pounds of boneless cooked meat **

*I used blood orange, if you do so, you might want to add a tsp. of sugar as they are not as sweet as a regular orange...taste and see.
** 2 smoked chicken breasts, or the equivalent in smoked fish or turkey, pork or duck. I got my smoked chicken from Nodine’s online.

Combine orange juice, Madeira or sherry, half the lemon juice, zests and a pinch of salt and boil till reduced to 3 T and it is a thick syrup - add zest.

Cool, then whisk in the egg yolk and slowly add the olive oil, whisking all the while.
Add the cream and the rest of the lemon juice to taste… you may not want to use it all. I have also made this without the cream, adding a little more olive oil instead. Add salt to taste.

Place a handful of arugula or endive on a plate. Add your meat/fish of choice, avocado and orange slices and the onion. Drizzle the orange sauce on the plate and dot with the chili mole.
****I used dandelion and it makes great dramatic swoops in the photos but decided in the end… the arugula is best.

^ Mad Mole Sauce ^
2 dried New Mexico chili (seeded)
2 smoked Serrano chili (or chipotle) seeded
3 dried apricot halves (or 3 T raisins)
2 T Madeira (I used Boston Bual)
2 T espresso (liquid-or dark roast coffee)
1 t of anise
Salt to taste
1 t pepper (I like grains of paradise… but black is fine)
2 t. molasses
Re-hydrate the chili and apricots (or raisins) in enough water to cover until softened. You can speed the process by popping it in the microwave for a moment. Puree the softened chili and apricots (or raisins) with the anise and Madeira and coffee in a blender, use some of the soaking liquid so that it has the consistency of ketchup.

*As always, facts come from the great and glorious Wikipedia!


Sacha said...

This salad while I am very pleased with a beautiful harmony of flavors
A great recipe to try
Thank you for the discovery of these two beautiful cookbooks I do not know Madeleine Kamman, I must look on Amazon if it has versions in French
I wish you a wonderful and enjoyable weekend
A + + Sacha

MaryMoh said...

Ooooh....that's a very healthy and delicious-looking salad. I love it.

La Table De Nana said...

Very informative did a great job honoring the peppers..I had never hear of Mme. Kamman..Thanks!

Pam said...

I too love Madelaine Kamman. The making of a cook I read in the seventies and still have it.
I didn't know chipotle peppers were dried jalapenos. Deana I learn something every time I read your blog!
Fun reading today and the salad looks yum!

Laurie said...

Yummy. Thanks for the Must Try. :)

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

Oh, beautiful! And woncha look at the ingredients! Maderia honey, blood oranges, avocados ... it must have tasted sublime.

Deana Sidney said...

Sacha>It would be a crime if a French woman's books are not in France!
I do hope so.. you will love them!
Mary Moh> It is delicious, MAry... I have been known to take spoons of the sauce!
LaTabledeNana>Oh Monique, you are in for such a treat if you have never read her! And thanks about the peppers.. when someone gives you something you must say thank you!!!
Gypsy Chef> Thanks for stopping by... you know I didn't get her new book when it came out because I had the old one... big mistake... the new one is soooo different. And yes, chipotles are dried SMOKED
jalepenos... should fix that!
Laurie> it is yummy... you won't be disappointed!

Linda said...

This looks spectacular...and delicious...
Beautiful pics!
I also am a fan of Mme.Kamman...I used to adore her PBS series and never missed it when it was shown way back when. She is a wonderful teacher...
Thanks for the lovely memories...I have not thought about her for a long while...
sop many little time...

Zurin said...

yea bell peppers fact theyre sweet! but pretty....I love my peppers....the hot ones...mmmmmm

the salad looks so good and how nice that you spiced it up..that wld make it even better! bravo! :)

Mary Bergfeld said...

I loved your post today. I'm heading to the library to find her books. I love beautiful food and you sure know how to dish it up :-). Have a fabulous weekend. Blessings...Mary

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Loved the history of this wonderful-sounding salad! The mix of flavors sound delightful. Somehow I missed Madeleine Kamman! I'm glad you brought her to my attention.

Anonymous said...

Excellent salad and the sauces are outstanding! I especially love the Mad Mole sauce, awesome!

Faith said...

What a beautiful, flavorful salad! I had no idea that humidity and soil play a part in a pepper's heat...very interesting! And I never knew the method by which peppers were tested for heat was so subjective!

Kristen said...

Sounds like an amazing salad. How wonderful for you to receive such great peppers.

Inspired2cook said...

Mmmm, smoked chicken! This recipe sounds great!

Deana Sidney said...

Linda> So glad you liked it... I went for full size pics because it was so pretty! I do want people to learn about Kamman...isn't she wonderful!
Zurin> The mole is my invention.. and I have been adding it to everything because I love hot sauce... it's really good!
Mary> You will love her book... and hopefully buy one too! Kamman is so brilliant!
Savoring time>You will love her book... there are so many interesting flavor combinations
5star>try the orange sauce... it is just soooo good... but my mole isn't bad either!
Faith>I never knew that about peppers either but it makes sense...the same holds true about grapes.. dry conditions concentrate flavors...tomatoes too!!! And yes... strange about Scovilles... I imagine each test is a little different!
Kristen> thanks for stopping by... it was really fun.. Marx is doing a mushroom giveaway next!
Inspired2cook> I had sort of forgotten about smoked chicken... but it is so good!

Barbara said...

Another wonderful post, Deana. I agree completely about Madeleine Kamman and it was lovely of you to link her books!

Your Mad Mole sauce made me smile and then want to rush out a make it. It's really a lovely salad...fresh and new.
( I am loving the Madeira, blood orange, lemons and cream. Divine...will use it in a number of other ways!)

Deana Sidney said...

Barbara> Thanks... I hope everyone buys her books... she deserves a renaissance! The mole is really good... and I imagine it keeps for a bit ( we shall see) since the ingredients are dried. I just got a new bottle of Bual and expect it will appear in things for a while... I just love what it does to food! You made me laugh too... her salad is 20-odd years old and it still seems fresh, is that cool or what?

Charlene said...

You mentioned Violet Jelly in your comment to me. Pray tell... I have never heard of violet jelly. Sounds heavenly. I have had the little violet candies from France but, never thought past that. Charlene

Becky said...

Looks like a perfect dish for this lovely, soon-to-be-gone warm weather!

The Charm of Home said...

Oh, that really looks good. I wish I had a salad chef. Just someone to make me a salad for every meal while I cook for all the guys.
Win Rachael Ray bake ware. Thanks!

Sarah said...

This looks so good. I will have to look into the grains of paradise pepper. That is new to me.

Mark @ Cafe Campana said...

This is a really nice looking salad. Blood oranges are so great in cooking, I love the colour and the tartiness.

Rattlebridge Farm said...

This was a delight to read! The photographs are alluring--I want this salad! Thank you for joining us again, and I look forward to your next foodie post!

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

This looks wonderful Deana! I like the use of oranges as a bit of sweet in the dressing is always nice :D

Deana Sidney said...

Charlene> Violet jelly on Amazon! The world is so much smaller these days... thanks for stopping by~
Becky>please don't say my weather will be gone... it has been so great!
Sherry>salad isn't so very hard... through it all on a plate and you are done!
Allourfingers>Those grains of paradise are available on line... Frontier spices even has them in a grinder now... 20 years ago I had to call African Embassies to find them!!
Mark>I love the color too.. especially those sections..they were like jewels
Michael Lee> Thanks Michael, after seeing those photos or your flower salad.. I must bow to you.. they were the best!
Lorraine> this was really a great dressing.. I really have been using it for years and always love it.

La cuina vermella said...

Hola, t'acabem de descobrir per la cuina de casa i ens has deixat bocabadats. Molts petons.

2 Stews said...

I have had her first book since it was published and didn't know about the second one...I have to take a poke around the bookstore and give it a look.

I love almost all peppers and seem to add some type to most things I make. This salad looks so refreshing. I've been on an orange kick, too. I seem to crave it with seafood.

Thanks for sharing...always a pleasure to visit!

Gemma said...

The salads are perfect for the spring that begins... and the chili gives a lot of flavor to the sauce. Delicious!

PranisKitchen said...

really yummy salad..the ingredients are awesome..avocodo chicken orange..really delcious one..
nice picture too