Rebecca’s Kimchi-Apple, Parsnip, and Chicken Meatball Composed Salad:

I told you I had a back-log of recipes from my friends who are excellent cooks, so here’s another.

This one is from Rebecca. Rebecca is the kind of friend who thinks nothing of hopping in a car and driving three or four hours to see you. So, Rebecca was a particularly good person to decide to drive across the country with the summer after our freshman year in college. She was even better when we made the perhaps misguided decision to drive from Seattle to San Francisco over night with only a large box of blueberries, a loaf of bread, and a Fiddler on the Roof CD to keep us company.

Between those two legs of road trip, Rebecca and I learned that we worked well together as organizers and as cooks. We ran a voter registration drive by day and cooked for our five other roommates by night. Since then our friendship has continued to be defined by travel adventures, political adventures, and cooking adventures.

When I visited her in Philadelphia last week, I knew there would be excellent food to eat. Fittingly, my second night there we reunited with our third road trip companion, and Rebecca served us my favorite thing I’ve eaten in a long time.

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Rebecca nonchalantly decided to make a riff on the Momofuku apple and kimchi salad–another thing I love about Rebecca is that she is never intimidated by a recipe or much of anything else.

Rebecca’s riff on the salad included not just apples dressed in kimchi and arranged on a bed of arugula, but also a tangle of crunchy parsnips and pile of cilantro-chicken meatballs. This surprising combination of ingredients was held together by a swath of maple-syrup and yogurt. I came home and immediately set out to make it again. I think you should too.

Kimchi-Apple, Parsnip, and Chicken Meatball Composed Salad: 

– 2 large, crunchy apples (I used a Granny Smith and a Fuji)

– 1/4 cup kimchi

– 1/4 cup greek yogurt

– 2 tbsp maple syrup

– 1 lb parsnips

– 1 lb ground chicken or turkey

– 1/2 cup chopped scallions

– 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

– 2 tbsp fish sauce

– 1 tbsp soy sauce

– Roughly 3 cups of arugula or mache

– Juice of 1/2 a lemon

– Olive oil to taste

* Puree kimchi in a food processor or blender. (I found adding a bit of the kimchi juice made this process easier.)

* Chop apples into relatively large chunks and mix with blended kimchi. Set aside.

* Whisk together yogurt and maple syrup and set aside.

* Mix chicken, scallions, cilantro, fish sauce, and soy sauce together until scallions and cilantro are evenly distributed throughout ground chicken. Shape into balls and set aside.

* Peel parsnips and slice into thin spears.

* Heat glug of oil in large pan over medium heat. Add chicken meatballs. Cook, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides (5-10 minutes depending on meatball size). Turn heat down a little and cover pan with lid to cook meatballs through (5-10 more minutes, again depending on size.).

* Meanwhile, heat a bit more oil over medium heat in another pan. Add parsnip spears and cook, stirring occasionally until beginning to brown. Add about 1/3 cup of water to pan and cover for about 5 minutes. Remove lid and continue to cook, letting any remaining water boil off and parsnips to crisp and brown more (about 5 more minutes).

* Toss greens with juice of 1/2 a lemon, olive oil, and salt to taste.

* Arrange on plate: In individual portions, spread yogurt mixture on plate, place greens on top of yogurt, add apples, meatballs, and parsnips on top of greens.

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