It was such a beautiful day on Sunday we fancied something lighter for lunch, and the boys wanted to watch the rugby, so we needed something quick and easy to prepare and eat. We picked up a couple of chickens from J Seal Butchers on Saturday, and then popped to Two peas in a pod to see what fresh produce they had. We managed to get hold of some British new season broad beans, as well as some pea pods, so we also picked up some radishes, fennel, mixed leaf and lots of herbs to make a really fresh tasting salad.
Brent cooked the chickens the way Simpson’s on the Strand recommend as per the carving course he did there a few years ago. They turned out really beautifully – crisp and golden on the outside, but still moist on the inside. The salad he devised really made use of the fresh Spring flavours of the beans and herbs. The contrast in texture between the crunchy radishes, fennel and raw peas and the yielding broad beans added another dimension to the salad; the addition of some avocado might also work well.
In terms of health benefits, peas and broad beans (a type of legume) provide a good source of vitamins C, K, Beta-carotene and Bs, as well as being rich in the mineral potassium. Legumes are also rich in soluble fibre to help maintain a healthy blood sugar balance.
Roast Chicken and a Spring Salad
- 2 small chickens, preferably organic
- 2 bulbs of garlic
- 1 kilo of new season broad beans
- 1 kilo of new season pea pods
- a bunch of radishes, finely sliced
- 2 fennel bulbs
- a bag of mixed salad leaf
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 1 bunch of tarragon
- 1 bunch of rosemary
- 1 tbsp capers
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 160C.
- Stuff the birds with a bulb of garlic each (separated, peeled and squashed), half a bunch of thyme and rosemary, and lightly salt the skin.
- Brown the thighs of the whole chickens in a roasting tin in the butter and olive oil (Brent also likes to slash the flesh on the legs to allow the meat to cook through).
- Roast the birds in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours, turning once, until golden and crispy.
- Pod the broad beans and the peas.
- Blanche the broad beans for a couple of minutes. Allow to cool. “Double pod” them, in other words, discard the inner membrane so you are left with a vibrant green bean. The easiest way is to pinch the flesh where the bean curves, and then just pop or squeeze the bean out of its skin. Small children tend to love this job, so take advantage of their little fingers.
- Grate the radishes and fennel with a mandolin or grater so they are finely sliced, or use a sharp knife, if you have a steady hand.
- Add the extra virgin olive oil and the red wine vinegar to the bottom of your serving bowl, add a tsp of Dijon mustard and whisk into an emulsion. Season to taste.
- Add the capers, the raw peas, the fennel and the radishes; followed by the washed mixed leaves. Add a couple of handfuls of parsley and tarragon and combine. Finally, add the broad beans, turning them carefully into the salad so as not to break them up.