Herby saffron chicken and fennel salad

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Sometimes people don’t want to eat spicy eastern food, especially if they live here in Singapore. So I wrack my brains for something a bit different, and turn to Ottolenghi. This is the main dish I prepared for my spice-averse friend; it’s so good, especially on the second day (leftovers are always best!), that I will make it again and again. I actually doubled the orange sauce as I thought his version was too puny. Once again, thanks Yotam!

I will be posting the rest of my dinner menu during the week, so watch this space!

Serves 6

2 oranges
3 tbsp organic honey or other sweetener like agave
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp saffron threads
about 300 ml water
1 kg of chicken breasts (5 for 6 people), skinless
4 tbsp coconut or olive oil
2 small fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
lots of coriander, mint and basil leaves, torn
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 large red chilli, thinly sliced (these are not the hot ones!)
1 garlic clove, crushed
salt and pepper, lots

Preheat the over to 200 C/180 C fan.

Top and tail the oranges, and cut into 12 wedges each, removing pips. Put them in a small saucepan with the honey, saffron and water to cover. Simmer gently for about an hour, making sure that the water does not evaporate completely, as you will want pulpy orange in a thick sauce at the end of the process. Whizz it all up in a blender to make a smooth, runny paste.

Put the chicken in a bowl and pour on half the olive oil, and mix with salt and pepper. Then place on a hot griddle and sear for a couple of minutes each side so you get the criss-cross griddle marks. This helps keep the chicken juicy as well as looking nice). Pop into the pre-heated oven when done and cook for 30-40 minutes, making sure that it doesn’t get too dry, but that it is also cooked. Test with a fork or a knife to make sure no pink juices are escaping. Remove and leave to cool.

When cool enough to handle, tear into bite-size chunks and add to a bowl with the sliced fennel. Add the remaining ingredients, including the olive oil, lemon juice, chilli, garlic, herbs and your orange sauce. Check for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, lemon juice as necessary. Mix well and pile up onto a serving dish. Dig in!

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