Saffron chicken, fennel & orange salad
One from Ottolenghi for dinner tonight. As per usual, his recipe was divine, with super fresh flavours and interesting taste and texture combinations.
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!
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!
You will need:
6 free range corn fed chicken thigh fillets
1 large orange
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
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