from one generation to the next
We’re having a long hot summer. When the mercury is climbing toward, and often past 40C (104F), I try and avoid increasing the heat in the house by preparing ahead, stocking up with fresh herbs and salad leaves so I can serve interesting salads.
I poached a chicken in master stock in preparation for the last blast. An organic chicken of around 2 kg cooked this way will feed two of us for three meals and leave us with a couple of litres of beautiful stock with which to make pho when the temperature drops.
It goes against the grain for me to jump on the popularist bandwagon, but having received three Ottalenghi books as gifts for Christmas, they were my starting point for inspiration for dinner. From the outset I’ll apologise to Yotam and Sami for not following the original recipe from “Jerusalem” closely at least for the first time, but guys, my inner demons egged me on.
The dressing was stunning despite my minor changes. I substituted the fennel bulb with rocket and chives as the recipe suggested, then added some toasted fennel seed to provide that irresistible aniseed flavour. My basil had wilted so I omitted that, I used an already cut lime for juice instead of lemon and added some carrot julienne for substance. The “Jerusalem” recipe included charred chicken breasts, a kilo for six serves, but I had 400g of poached meat for 2 people. I didn’t adjust the stipulated volume of herbs and salad greens and the quantity was just enough to two as a stand alone meal. If you were serving bread and have dessert planned too, these quantities might just feed four small appetites.
We enjoyed our refreshing salad enormously. While the saffron in the dressing provided a rich golden hue, the heady flavour was totally overwhelmed by the orange so I felt the cost of adding saffron in this instance was not justified. I guess it pays it’s way by lending an exotic name to this delicious salad.
50g maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
400g cold cooked chicken
15g picked coriander leaves
15g picked mint leaves
15g snipped chives
1 medium carrot cut into fine julienned
1 teaspoon fennel seed, toasted and coarsely ground
Fresh lime juice
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
1 generous teaspoon sea salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 red chilli finely sliced
1 Wash the orange and cut it into eighths.
2 Put the orange sections, maple syrup, saffron, vinegar and water into a small pot.
3 Bring the pot to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour. You should end up with the cooked orange segments in roughly 3 tablespoons of thick syrup.
4 Purée the oranges and syrup until smooth, then aside
5 Tear the chicken into large bite sized pieces, set aside.
6 Pick the herbs then wash and gently dry the leaves.
7 Combine the garlic, oil and lime juice in a small bowl.
8 Put the chicken in a large bowl and dress it with half of the orange purée.*
9 Add the herbs, carrots and fennel seed to the chicken, then toss in the vinaigrette.
10 Season generously with salt flakes and ground pepper.
11 Transfer the salad to a serving platter and garnish with the sliced chilli.
Serves 2 as a complete meal
* the remainder of the dressing will freeze for future use