Seared chicken and fennel salad with a red onion dressing
- August 2006
- Serves 4
- Ready in 50 minutes
Angela Hartnett’s clever seared chicken and fennel salad recipe is enhanced by an Asian-inspired dressing that hits all the right notes.
- 27.4g (5g saturated)
- 8.6g (7.1g sugars)
- 2 large fennel bulbs
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 3 fat garlic cloves, halved lengthways
- 3 fresh rosemary sprigs, halved
- 4 boneless chicken breasts with skin
- 2 x 75g bags prepared watercress, large stalks removed
For the sweet-and-sour red onion dressing
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 4 tsp light muscovado sugar
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2½ tsp dark soy sauce
- To cook the fennel, remove the outer layer of each bulb, if woody, then cut each bulb lengthways through the root into slices. The root will hold the layers together at the base of each slice.
- Heat a cast-iron griddle pan over a high heat, until smoking hot, then reduce the heat to medium. Brush the fennel slices with half the olive oil, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add them to the griddle, in batches if necessary, with the garlic cloves and half the rosemary pieces. Cook for 5 minutes on each side, until the fennel is golden brown and nicely marked with lines from the griddle pan. Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of water and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes, adding more water every now and then to help speed up the cooking. When tender, set aside on a plate and keep warm. Discard the garlic and rosemary.
- Make the sweet-and-sour red onion dressing. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the red onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, until soft and just beginning to brown. Add the sugar and continue to cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes, until it has dissolved and the onion is golden brown. Reduce the heat, add the vinegar and allow it to bubble gently for a few seconds, then add the sesame oil, soy sauce and some black pepper to taste. Keep warm.
- To cook the chicken breasts, heat the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Season the chicken all over with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then add to the pan, skin-side down, with the remaining rosemary sprigs. Cook for about 6 minutes or until golden brown. Turn the chicken over and cook for a further 6-7 minutes or until cooked through and tender. Discard the rosemary.
- Lift the chicken onto a plate, cover with foil and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Place the chicken breasts onto a chopping board and slice each piece slightly on the diagonal into thickish slices.
- Put the chicken pieces, fennel slices and watercress into a large bowl and spoon over the dressing. Toss everything together well, then divide between 4 plates. Serve immediately. (Angela Hartnett’s tip: If the dressing has become thick, add any chicken juices from the plate or a tablespoon of warm water to loosen it a little, before tossing it through the salad.)
Angela Hartnett’s tip: Add a little water to the pan after turning the chicken to speed up the cooking process, or sear on both sides in an ovenproof frying pan until the chicken takes on a good colour, then transfer to an oven preheated to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6 for about 10 minutes or until cooked through.
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