Annabel and I have both learned such a lot from Jane. Her recipe books are packed with tips that you’ll wish you had known years ago. Plus she writes in a way that makes you feel you can easily accomplish any of her dishes. And who doesn’t love being encouraged? So many of us enjoy eating chicken and so a salad like this on these hot summer days is very tempting.
Crispy Chicken Salad – another tasty recipe from Jane LovettCourse: Main MealsDifficulty: Easy – just prep in advance
4 – 5servings
This is Jane’s simplified version of Zuni Café Chicken
Whole chicken (1.4 – 1.6kg / 3¼ – 3½ lb)
4 good sprigs of thyme, rosemary, marjoram or sage
Ciabatta loaf or other country bread, a day old
1 tbsp currants
Red wine vinegar
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
Bunch of spring onions, trimmed and sliced diagonally
3 cloves of garlic, slivered
A few handfuls of mixed salad leaves
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
- Salt the chicken 2 – 3 days before required. Stuff the herbs inside the bird. Measure half tsp sea salt per pound of chicken and rub well all over the bird, distributing more over thicker parts. Cover and leave in the fridge for 2 – 3 days.
- The bread salad can be prepared upto several hours in advance. Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400F / gas 6. Tear the bread into irregular chunks – some bite sized, some bigger, some just fat crumbs. Toss with a little olive oil and sea salt and cook for 6 – 8 mins on a baking sheet until brown and crispy. Tip into a large bowl. When ready to cook the chicken, turn the oven to 220C / 425F/ Gas 7.
- Put the currants into a ramekin and just cover with red wine vinegar. Set aside.
- Whisk together the white wine vinegar, 8 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to taste and toss 3 tbsp over the bread. Some bits will be dressed, some won’t.
- Fry the spring onions and garlic gently in a little olive oil for a few minutes until just softened, stirring all the time. Tip over the bread if using immediately. If not set aside until the chicken is cooking. Drain the plumped up currants, reserving the vinegar and add to the bread along with the pine nuts.
- Put a roasting tin, into which the chicken fits snugly, into the preheated oven. Rinse the chicken and dry very well. Put into the hot roasting tin, it should sizzle, and cook for 50 – 60 minutes, depending on the size of the bird. Remove from the tin and leave to rest.
- Skim most of the fat from the juices in the roasting tin, then put over the heat and when sizzling add a little water and scrape off the sediment. Reduce a little and add to the bread.
- Toss some more of the dressing over the bread. Taste and add seasoning and possibly some reserved vinegar, if necessary. Joint the chicken into eight or cut up the joints and slice up the breasts into chunky bits.
- Arrange the bread on a large platter mixing in the salad leaves, nestle the chicken in over the top and spoon over any juices.
For more info and/or to buy Jane Lovett’s cookery books, click here