“So, guys, the weather is getting warmer, fresh spring produce is starting to appear in the shops, and it’s time to start celebrating what we can get our hands on. This salad is a really nice one for embracing the season – try speed-peeling spears of asparagus over your salad, or adding quartered ripe cherry tomatoes. Add whatever you like! Putting the croutons beneath the chicken as it roasts, with smoky bacon on top, means you get even more bang for your buck on the flavour front. Delicious. ”
- 1 bunch of fresh herbs (30g) , such as sage, thyme, rosemary
- 2 cloves of garlic
- rapeseed oil
- Worcestershire sauce
- 1 x 1.5 kg whole chicken
- 1 round lettuce
- 1 little gem lettuce
- 1 small carrot
- ¼ of a cucumber
- ½ an eating apple
- 300 g sourdough bread
- 6 rashers of higher-welfare smoked streaky bacon
- Creamy dressing
- ½ a clove of garlic
- 1 heaped teaspoon wholegrain mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tinned sardine fillet , optional
- 40 g Cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
- 100 g natural yoghurt
- 1 lemon
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Strip the herb leaves into a pestle and mortar, add the unpeeled garlic cloves and a pinch of sea salt and give it a good bash. Muddle in 3 tablespoons of rapeseed oil and a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce.
- Use a large sharp knife to carefully cut down the back of the chicken, so you can open it out flat. Place it in a snug-fitting roasting tray and rub the garlicky herb mixture all over it, getting into all the nooks and crannies.
- Roast the chicken for 50 minutes, or until golden and cooked through and the juices run clear.
- Meanwhile, for the creamy dressing, peel the garlic and place in a small food processor or blender. Add the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and sardine fillet, if using, then grate in the cheese. Add the oil and the yoghurt, then blitz until smooth, before tasting and seasoning to perfection with lemon juice and black pepper. Pour into a bowl ready to serve.
- Trim and click apart the lettuce leaves. Leave all the pretty inner leaves whole, but finely slice the larger, frumpy leaves and the stalk, then give it all a wash and dry in a salad spinner. Arrange on a serving platter.
- Peel the carrot, then use a speed peeler to make delicate ribbons of carrot over the platter. Repeat with the cucumber and apple.
- Chop or tear up your bread into chunky pieces. For the last 15 minutes of the chicken’s cooking time, use tongs to move the bird to sit directly on the top bars of the oven. Scatter the bread into the tray of juices, lay the bacon on top, and sit the tray underneath the chicken to crisp up and catch even more of the juices as it finishes cooking.
- Move the chicken to a board to rest for a few minutes. Then drizzle some dressing over the salad, scatter the crunchy croutons and bacon on top, and serve everything at the table, adding more dressing to your plates as you tuck in.
– You can use olive oil instead of rapeseed oil, if you like.
– I’ve used a whole chicken, but if you have pieces that’s no problem at all, just adjust the cooking time accordingly.
– On the dressing, of course you could use Dijon mustard instead of wholegrain.
– Anchovies are classic in a Caesar dressing, so by all means use those instead of the sardine fillet, or you could even flake in a bit of smoked mackerel or tinned tuna.
– Use finely grated Parmesan instead of Cheddar, if you’ve got it.
– On the lettuce front, crunchy romaine is always a delight and what you’d traditionally find in a Caesar, but feel free to use what you’ve got.
– I’m using sourdough here, but you can use whatever bread you like.
– If you don’t have a salad spinner, don’t worry. Give your leaves a good wash, then simply pile them on a clean tea towel, pull up the corners, and swing that parcel about till the leaves are dry.
Source: Jamie Oliver