A great recipe for those entertaining both vegetarians and meat eaters: This week’s dish can be made with Spatchcock Spring Chicken or, replaced with Heart of Palm.
Spatchcock Spring Chicken OR Heart of Palm with Asparagus, Watercress & Moutabal
Recipe serves: 2
1 Poussin Chicken OR 500g of Fresh Heart of Palm (or celeriac)
- smoked paprika
- olive oil
- 1 lemon
- 1 banana shallot
- 2 clove of garlic
- fennel seeds
- 1 bunch of English asparagus
- 1 bunch of watercress
- 1 large aubergine
- 2 tsp of tahini paste
- 1 tbsp crème fraiche
Preheat an oven to 180c. Preheat a grill.
Spatchcock the poussin by cutting the backbone out of the chicken with a pair of sturdy kitchen scissors.
In a small ovenproof dish mix the marinade ingredients together:
- 1 heaped tbsp smoked paprika
- 4 tbsp of olive oil
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp honey
- 4 peeled strips of lemon rind
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
Rub the marinade into the chicken/heart of palm.
For the chicken leave in the dish, covered with foil to marinade.
For the heart of palm, tightly cover with foil and bake at 180c for about 45 minutes or until tender.
Score the skin of the aubergine to prevent it from exploding during cooking. Put onto a metal tray and place under a hot grill. Every ten minutes or so turn the aubergine so all sides are evenly charred.
Continue cooking until the middle is completely soft. Split the aubergine in half and continue to grill for a further 5-10 minutes to dry out the middle a little.
Prepare the asparagus by picking off excess spikes from the stem and blanch for 1-2 minutes in salted water. Refresh the spears in iced water to stop the cooking. Cut the spears into bite-sized pieces and reserve till ready to serve.
Pick the watercress leaves from the stalks and reserve.
Finely slice a shallot into rings and shallow fry until golden brown and slightly crispy, drain onto some kitchen towel and reserve.
Remove the aubergine from the grill and allow to cool.
Place the marinated chicken into an oven at 180c, making sure the foil is tightly covering the top of the oven proof dish and bake for 15 – 20 minutes.
With a spoon scrape the cooked aubergine flesh from the skin, being careful not to take too much of the blackened outer layer, a little is good as it gives a nice smokey flavour to the moutabal. Place the flesh on some kitchen paper to soak up the excess juice.
Place the :
- aubergine flesh,
- 2 tsp of tahini paste,
- a generous squeeze of lemon juice
- ¼ of a clove of crushed garlic
- 1 tbsp of crème fraiche
- salt to taste
onto a board and chop until all the ingredients have come together to form a relatively smooth paste.
Remove the foil from the top of the heart of palm, baste with its cooking juices and place under a hot grill for 5 minutes to give some colour. Remove the heart of palm from the grill.
Remove the foil from the top of the chicken, baste with its cooking juices and place under a hot grill for 5 minutes to give the chicken some colour. Remove the chicken and allow to rest.
Take a generous spoon full of the aubergine moutabal and place it into a salad bowl, with a generous helping of the cooking juices (chicken or heart of palm), some lemon juice and a splash of olive oil, and mix well to form a dressing for the salad. Toss the watercress and asparagus spears in the dressing until nicely coated. Sprinkle the crispy shallots on top.
Portion and serve immediately with the Asparagus salad and a side of moutabal.
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