Oh, Applebee’s. I remember in my hometown for awhile, Applebee’s was actually a decent choice for a restaurant (it was the Midwest). When my friend turned 21, it was the logical place to take her and we spent the night testing the limits of a newbie bartender (I had the the worst, and strongest, Long Island Ice Tea of my life.) But today, Applebee’s is not a place I would visit under normal circumstances. Especially since Richmond has so many great non-chain restaurant options. Still, I wanted to try this copycat salad, which I found on a blog named “Tastes Better From Scratch.” It looked good whether it came from “the neighborhood” or not.
It turned out great, surprisingly. Nice crispy chicken that could have maybe used a touch more salt. The slaw and salad mix was different, but a nice way to add crunch without going full slaw. And the dressing was really good. Sweet with an Asian flair. I liked that it was a meal salad so that was a good way to get us to eat relatively healthy (fried part aside). It was a lot of steps though, so I don’t think this would go into my “easy dinner” pile.
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornflake crumbs (I used Parmesan Herb crumbs)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 chicken breast
3 cups vegetable oil, for frying
3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
Bag of rainbow or broccoli slaw
1/2 cup chopped red cabbage
1/2 cup chopped napa cabbage
1 carrot, shredded
1 green onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cucumber (optional)
1 Tbsp sliced almonds (optional)
3 Tbsp honey
1 1/2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/8 tsp sesame oil
Start by whisking your dressing ingredients together in a small bowl, making sure they mix completely. Refrigerate this until you’re ready to use it. Get out two more small bowls (lots of dishes, sorry) and in one beat the egg and milk together. In the second mix the flour, crumbs, salt and pepper. Cut your chicken into long thin strips, as evenly as you can.
In a large saucepan over medium high heat, preheat your oil. I don’t think you need the full 3 cups of oil, just enough to make about a half inch in the pan. Heat the oil to about 350 degrees. One by one, dip your chicken strips in the egg mixture, and then the flour mixture, making sure they get completely coated, then CAREFULLY put them into the oil. Don’t just plop them in or you’ll have hot oil going everywhere and that’s a danger to everyone. I did about 4 chicken strips in each batch so I could watch them. You want to fry for about four minutes, turning over halfway through to get a good golden brown on the crust. Then set them aside on a paper towel.
Ok, that’s most of the work. Now you just have to mix together the salad ingredients, add the chicken on top and pour some of the dressing over the whole thing. It’s a great meal, and you don’t have to deal with the strange folks eating at Applebee’s to enjoy it.