This classic signature salad was a popular staple on Applebee’s menu way before I first cloned it back in 1997. With Applebee’s still going strong some eighteen years later, it’s about time I share a new version of the recipe with some tweaks that make an already good clone recipe even better. The improved sweet-and-sour Asian dressing formula here yields a finished product that tastes much more like Applebee’s current offering, and the breaded chicken is even more like the real deal.
    This new recipe produces two giant entrée-size salads that can easily be split up to feed a hungry tribe of four. And if you want to make this fairly simple recipe even easier, you can use frozen pre-breaded chicken fingers and bake or fry them to top your salads. These days Applebee’s also offers this salad with the option of grilled chicken on top, so I have included a marinade and quick instructions for that variation in the Tidbits at the end.

½ cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons honey
5 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon sesame oil

2 skinless chicken breast fillets
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup milk
4 to 6 cups vegetable oil

6 cups coarsely chopped romaine lettuce
2 cups sliced napa cabbage
1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
½ cup julienned or shredded carrot
¼ cup chopped green onion (green part only)
¼ cup sliced almonds
¾ cup crispy chow mein noodles

Cooking Method
1-Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and chill the dressing until it’s needed.

2-Cover the chicken breasts with plastic wrap and pound them with a kitchen mallet to about ¼ inch thick. Slice the breasts in half lengthwise to make four long fillets.

3-Mix together the flour, salt, sugar, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder in a shallow bowl or a pie pan. Whisk together the egg and milk in another shallow bowl or pie pan.

4-Working with one fillet at a time, first coat the chicken with the dry breading, then dip it into the egg/milk mixture. Coat the fillet with breading again, then dip it back into the liquid and once again in the breading until well-coated. Arrange the breaded fillets on a plate until the oil is hot.

5-Fill a sauté pan with oil to about an inch deep. Heat the oil to 325 degrees F.

6-When the oil is up to temperature, fry the breaded chicken for 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on a rack or paper towel–lined plate.

7-Build the salad by tossing together the romaine lettuce, cabbages, and carrot.

8-Divide the salad onto two plates and sprinkle each with green onion. Sprinkle the sliced almonds over each salad, followed by the chow mein noodles.

9-Slice the chicken into bite-size chunks and arrange it on the top of each salad. Serve your salads with the dressing on the side.

If you would like to use grilled chicken rather than breaded fried chicken on your salad, combine 3 cups water, 1 tablespoon salt, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, and ¼ teaspoon hickoryflavored liquid smoke. Pound 2 skinless chicken breast fillets flat and marinate in the brine solution for 3 hours. When done marinating, blot each chicken breast dry, rub with oil, and grill (on a barbecue or indoor grill pan) until done. Lightly pepper each fillet while grilling. Slice the chicken into bite-size chunks and arrange it over the top of each salad prepared as in the above recipe.
   You can also use pre-grilled frozen chicken breasts prepared as instructed on the package.

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