Saffron Chicken & Herb Salad

Saffron ChickenSERVES 6

1 orange
2 1/2 tbsp / 50 g honey
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 1/4 cups / about 300 ml water
2 1/4 lb / 1 kg skinless, boneless chicken breast
4 tbsp olive oil
2 small fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
1 cup / 15 g picked cilantro leaves
2/3 cup / 15 g picked basil leaves, torn
15 picked mint leaves, torn
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 red chile, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic
crushed salt
freshly ground black pepper


[1]  Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C. Trim and discard 3/8 inch / 1 cm off the top and tail of the orange and cut it into 12 wedges, keeping the skin on. Remove any seeds.

[2]  Place the wedges in a small saucepan with the honey, saffron, vinegar, and just enough water to cover the orange wedges. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for about an hour. At the end you should be left with soft orange and about 3 tablespoons of thick syrup; add water during the cooking if the liquid gets very low. Use a food processor to blitz the orange and syrup into a smooth, runny paste; again, add a little water if needed.

[3]  Mix the chicken breast with half the olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper and place on a very hot ridged griddle pan. Sear for about 2 minutes on each side to get clear char marks all over. Transfer to a roasting pan and place in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until just cooked.

[4]  Once the chicken is cool enough to handle but still warm, tear it with your hands into rough, quite large pieces. Place in a large mixing bowl, pour over half the orange paste, and stir well. (The other half you can keep in the fridge for a few days. It would make a good addition to an herb salsa to serve with oily fish such as mackerel or salmon.) Add the remaining ingredients to the salad, including the rest of the olive oil, and toss gently. Taste, add salt and pepper, and, if needed, more olive oil and lemon juice.

Excerpted from Jerusalem.  Copyright © 2012 Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.  Published by Appetite by Random House, which is a division of Random House of Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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