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
Saffron chicken and herb salad
- 1 orange
- 50 g honey
- ½ teaspoon saffron strands
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- about 300 ml water
- 6 chicken breasts skinned and boned (about 150g/5oz each)
- 4 tablespoon 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 tablespoon 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 tablespoon 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.
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