It’s been the hottest day of the year so far; seriously hot. I got into my car at one point and it registered 37C. I don’t think it was really that hot outside but close. I like the heat but even for me it was too much. So it was definitely a day for a salad supper: something cold and refreshing. The idea came together with a mesh of other things: the way citrus goes so well with peppery watercress; the lovely tahini dressing Jonathan makes for barbecued chicken.
We were eating en famille. Freddie would eat earlier: a slither of the cooling roasted chicken; a spoonful of the freekeh salad I made to go with it; a chopped fresh tomato. He liked it so much he wanted seconds. Even at 17 months minus 4 days you can have quite sophisticated tastes in food.
I roasted the chicken early afternoon; very simply with just a coating of olive oil that I rubbed all over, a good grating of black pepper and sea salt; a dusting of dried oregano. Then I buttered a small piece of greaseproof paper to cover the top for the first half of cooking to keep it moist, removing it at the end to allow the chicken to brown. Once done, I left it to cool.
Then I pulled the flesh from the carcass leaving large chunks for the salad. The carcass I put in a pan with water, carrot, onion, celery and seasoning to simmer for a couple of hours for stock for the freezer.
I made the freekeh salad well in advance too (click here for instructions for similar salad). I have an addiction to freekeh, I just love the nutty flavour and texture. It also cooks very quickly as well as being good for you! I dressed it with the juice from half a pomegranate mixed with some pomegranate molasses and extra virgin olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper; the seeds from the other half of the pomegranate; a small bunch of flat leaf parsley roughly chopped; about 5 spring onions finely sliced.
Near to suppertime I got the ingredients for the chicken salad ready, wanting to put it altogether at the last minute so it was as fresh as possible. I roasted a good handful of pine nuts in a dry pan. I made a tahini sauce by mixing tahini with crushed garlic, sea salt, lemon juice, water and extra virgin olive oil. I cut segments from 2 red grapefruit.
When ready to go, I scattered a good layer of watercress over a large serving plate. Then I lay the pieces of chicken over the top, followed by the grapefruit segment. Then I drizzled over the tahini dressing and scattered over the roasted pine nuts.
We were able to sit in the garden, the cooling day a welcome relief. It alway seems such a treat in UK to be able to eat supper outside; there’s something holiday-ish about it. The salad was perfection: wonderfully tasty but so fresh with the grapefruit and tahini dressing and the peppery watercress. The roasted pine nuts added a nice little sweet crunch to it all. We all loved it so definitely a supper to be repeated.