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Saffron Salad with Fennel and Herbs

13 May

Adapted from Jerusalem, a cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. This is a fantastic, innovative and inspiring book – and fun! The recipes are just delicious and beautiful.

1 orange
2½ teaspoons honey
½ teaspoon saffron threads
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1¼ cups water
2¼ pounds boneless chicken breast
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 small fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2/3 cup fresh basil leaves
15 fresh mint leaves, torn
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 red chili, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic or 1 bulb green garlic, crushed
sea salt and freshly ground black  pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim and discard 3/8–inch off the top and tail of the orange and cut into 12 wedges, keeping the skin on. Remove any seeds.
  2. Place the wedges in a small saucepan with the honey, saffron, vinegar, and just enough water to cover the orange wedges. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for about 1 hour. At the end you should be left with soft orange and about 3 tablespoons thick syrup; add water during the cooking if the liquid gets low. Use a food processor to blitz the orange and syrup until it is a smooth, runny paste; again add a little water if needed.
  3. Mix the chicken breast with half the olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper and place on a very hot, ridged griddle pan. Sear for about 2 minutes on each side to get char marks all over. Transfer to a roasting pan and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until just cooked.
  4. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, but still warm, tear it into rough, quite large pieces. Place in a large mixing bowl, pour over half the orange paste and stir well (the other half you can keep in the refrigerator for a few days).
  5. Add the remaining ingredients to the salad, including the rest of the olive oil, and toss gently. Taste, add salt and pepper, if needed, more olive and lemon juice.

Serves 6

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