Full of fresh, punchy flavours, this saffron chicken and herb salad is adapted from a recipe in Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s wonderful book Jerusalem, the chefs at Ottolenghi in Belgravia. The salad is tossed in an orange dressing made from a whole orange and it gives the salad the most amazingly zingy flavours.
Towards the end of last year I joined the Borough Market Cookbook Club. Meeting up with other enthusiastic cooks to taste and discuss dishes from a chosen book, washed down with wine – there are worse ways to spend an evening. On my second visit to the cookbook club, the featured book was Jerusalem by Yoham Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi and I have written a review of both the evening and the book, here. At the club, we all bring a dish that we have made from the book and get together to taste each other’s dishes and discuss the book. After much deliberation, I opted to make the Saffron chicken and herb salad.
The dish was a huge success. The original recipe used 1kg/2¼lbs of chicken which is what I would call a bit excessive, so I have reduced the amount in my recipe. I didnt feel it was necessary to reduce the other ingredients though. I have also adapted the method a little. In the book, the chicken seared on a griddle and then finished cooking the chicken in the oven. I flatten my chicken first so that it cooks quickly and easily on a griddle pan without the need to turn on the oven.
Step by step
- 1 orange
- 50 g honey
- ½ tsp saffron strands
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- about 300 ml water
- 6 chicken breasts skinned and boned (about 150g/5oz each)
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive or rapeseed oil
- 2 small fennel bulbs thinly sliced
- 15 g coriander leaves
- 15 g basil leaves torn into pieces
- 15 g mint leaves torn into pieces
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 red chilli thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic crushed sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Trim and discard 1cm/½in off the top and bottom of the orange and cut into 12 wedges. Place in a small pan with the saffron, honey, vinegar and enough water to just cover the orange wedges.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour, at which stage most of the liquid should have evaporated to produce a thick syrup and the orange will be very soft.
- Use a food processor or liquidiser to blitz to a purée, adding am little more water of required.
- Flatten the chicken breast between two sheets of cling film or parchment until about 1cm/ ½in thick. Toss with 2 tbsp of the oil some a salt and pepper. Cook on a hot griddle pan for about 5 minutes each side or until the juices run clear when pierced with a knife.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and allow to cool slightly, then use two forks to shred the chicken into bitesize pieces. Place in a large bowl with half the orange purée and stir well. Add the remaining ingredients and toss together before serving.
The remaining orange dressing can be kept in the fridge for several days. It would work well in a salad of rocket leaves and served with grill fish.
Nutrition information is approximate and is meant as a guideline only. (It does not include seasoning with salt and pepper.)
You can find the original Ottolenghi recipe here.
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