Ideal for grilling or roasting over embers, this recipe, inspired by Hamersley’s Bistro in Boston, USA, is one I have cooked often since my time at Alastair Little. The eager cook might consider spatchcocking a whole chicken, marinating and roasting it whole.
This is a salad that makes excellent use of the great many varieties of onion, pumpkin and squash around. Crown Prince, Violetta or some other dark green or grey-skinned pumpkin are often the best for cooking. The same applies to lettuces, leaves and cresses – seek out different varieties. The giddier the mix, the more joyful the salad. Here too is an opportunity to try other vinegars of single grape variety rather than the Banyuls mentioned, or an organic cider or fruit vinegar such as pear, plum, quince or prune.
Photography: Elena Heatherwick
6 breasts of chicken, wings still attached
1 soup spoon extra virgin olive oil
For the marinade
4 sprigs of thyme
8 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 branches of rosemary
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
a large bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
100ml extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
100g Dijon mustard
30ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for the onions and dressing
3 red or Roscoff onions, peeled and sliced into rounds 5mm in thickness
2 soup spoons Banyuls or other red wine vinegar, plus extra for the onions and dressing
a small bundle of thyme
a small bunch of sage
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
a big pinch of dried chilli flakes
salad leaves, a handful of each, e.g. large-leaf rocket, young spinach, watercress, wild cress, land cress or escarole, Grumola, picked and washed
a bunch of mint, leaves picked and torn a bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
75g blanched almonds, roasted at 150°C for 8 minutes or so until golden, then coarsely sliced
For the chicken, place the thyme, garlic, rosemary, onion and black pepper in a food processor and grind to a coarse purée. To this add a handful of parsley leaves at a time, adding a few spoonfuls of olive oil as you go, until you have made a thick green paste. Add the lemon juice and the rest of the olive oil. Stir in the mustard. Evenly spread the marinade over the chicken, cover well and leave to marinate at least overnight.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat a large roasting tin in the oven and, when hot, remove, strew with sea salt and a spoonful of oil and lay the chicken skin side down on the salt. Place in the oven and cook undisturbed for 45 minutes. With care, lift the chicken from the oven, check for doneness, then cover with foil and rest for 20–25 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Split the pumpkin, remove the seeds and cut into handsome wedges redolent of a Viking longship. Heat a large roasting tin in the oven for a few minutes, add the extra virgin olive oil and the slices of pumpkin and return to the oven. Cook for 20 minutes undisturbed, checking from time to time that the slices are not colouring too fast and may need turning. Add a little more oil if necessary.
Meanwhile, place a wide griddle or frying pan on a moderate heat, and lay the red onions in the heated pan to colour well. Cook for 5–8 minutes, then turn and repeat for a further 3–4 minutes. Remove the onions to a dish, cover and set aside for 5 minutes. Remove the cover and discard any burnt pieces of onion. Lightly dress with 1 soup spoon of vinegar and 2 soup spoons of extra virgin olive oil.
Pick the thyme and sage leaves and chop small, then mix with the garlic, lemon zest and chilli flakes. Season with salt and black pepper. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and insert a knife into the slices, which should offer no resistance. If still firm, return to the oven for a further 5–10 minutes.
Strew the herb seasoning over the roast pumpkin. Pour over 1 soup spoon of vinegar. To assemble the dish, carve each breast in 3 and keep warm. Tumble all the leaves onto a big dish. Lay the pumpkin on the leaves, along with any juices still in the tin, and scatter the onion over the pumpkin. Tumble on the slices of chicken. Strew the mint leaves, parsley and sliced almonds over the salad, finishing with one last flurry of Banyuls vinegar and olive oil.
Jeremy Lee’s cooking is everything you want to have in your kitchen – to serve to yourself and to your guests. In this book, filled with delicious dishes, wit, anecdotes and stories, he teaches you how to cook simply, seasonally and with a love of food, just as he does. Photography: Elena Heatherwick.