Saffron chicken, fennel & orange salad

Saffron chicken, fennel & orange salad

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One from Ottolenghi for dinner tonight. As per usual, his recipe was divine, with super fresh flavours and interesting taste and texture combinations.

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I’ve been wanting to cook this one for a little while, tempted by the lovely dressing which is rich with saffron and made by boiling a whole orange to the point of collapse. What made me finally give it a go was my recent interest in the anise flavour of fennel. Also, it’s Monday which usually means I want to try and start the week on a healthy – but by no means dreary and depressing – note and this summery dish fitted the bill perfectly! It tasted much more oriental, almost Thai or Vietnamese, than I’d imagined it would, which was great for a change!

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I’ve barely adapted the recipe from the original, which you can find in Jerusalem. I added radishes because I had some and I though they added a pleasing crunch and colour, and left out basil because there wasn’t any in the two supermarkets I visited. It was super herby and fresh with the mint and coriander already, so I’m not sure I missed the basil (although you never know until you try it!). The ingredients listed here are the ones I used rather than the original version.

Long live Ottolenghi!

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You will need:

6 free range corn fed chicken thigh fillets
1 large orange
50g honey
1 tbspn white wine vinegar
1/2 Tspn saffron strands
2 small fennel bulbs, finely sliced
10 radishes, finely sliced
1 red chilli, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbspns lemon juice
Handful of fresh mint
Handful of fresh coriander

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Method:

1 – Cut the orange into twelves wedges and remove the pips but keep the skin on; place these in a pan with the honey, saffron and white wine vinegar and brig to a boil
2 – Reduce the heat so the mix is simmering; cook for 1 hour until the orange skin is totally soft and the liquid is syrupy, adding water as necessary during cooking
3 – Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and prepare your chicken by seasoning each fillet with salt and pepper and drizzling over some olive oil
4 – Heat a griddle pan and add the chicken thighs; griddle on each side until light charr marks appear and then transfer the chicken onto a baking tray and into the oven to cook for 10 minutes until just cooked through and tender
5 – Whilst the chicken cooks prepare your salad by mixing all of the ingredient (herbs, fennel, radish, lemon juice, garlic, chilli) in a large seeing bowl
6 – Once the chicken is cooked and cooled slightly, tear it into the bowl
7 – Once your orange is completely soft, season well and add a little extra water; blend well and add more water as necessary to form a runny paste
8 – Toss half the orange dressing into the salad (reserve the rest for another day!), along with olive oil to coat and seasoning to taste; serve immediately

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