Worktime lunch is frequently a source of frustration for me. Sandwiches are OK for a while, but then I start to go stir crazy at the mundanity of them. Occasionally I’ll have a salad but there’s a lot of faff trying to keep the dressing separate until lunchtime.
Recently I was sent a compartmented lunchbox by Sistema. It’s genius: there are layers to keep different parts in, and a little pot for dressing, yet the whole thing slots back into a neat normal-sized lunchbox. In Heston Blumenthal at Home Heston clears up what destroys the salad leaves: surprisingly it’s not the vinegar component of the dressing but the oil. It seeps into tiny cracks on the leaves’ surface, and its for this reason you shouldn’t dress a salad until the last possible minute. With the separate pot for salad dressing this means you can dress the salad when you’re ready. This recipe shows it off really well: spiced chicken flavours with an Asian-style dressing. Nice and simple yet perfect for an office lunch.
Cumin chicken salad (serves 2):
2 chicken breasts, diced
1 teaspoon cumin powder
½ cucumber, cut into matchsticks
½ iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
For the dressing:
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon tomato ketchup
Dash of soy
Few drops of sesame oil
- Toss the chicken in the cumin and fry for a few minutes until cooked through. Toss in sesame seeds and leave to cool.
- For the dressing, combine all the ingredients together and season to taste.
- To serve, put the chicken with the lettuce and cucumber and toss with the dressing.
Unusually for me, I’m using someone else’s photo. I completely forgot to take a picture of lunch, but it looked a lot like this! Thanks Flyingroc.