As the weather has been so amazingly hot recently (30 degrees..in England!) I find all I really want to eat is salad. What I love about salads is that you can put virtually any random ingredients together, and it usually works. Salads are usually considered to be a healthy option, regardless of what they contain. The rationale seems to be that if you put something in the vague vicinity of a lettuce leaf, it automatically becomes healthy. Eating things as a ‘salad’ seems to purge them of any sin.
In this very hearty, and therefore not exactly healthy, salad I went for vaguely Moroccan flavours: cumin spiced chicken, garlicky aubergines and a dressing of yoghurt mixed with harissa, which is a Moroccan chilli paste.
Incidentally, as the subtitle for this blog is ‘food and photography’, I feel like it’s high time I mentioned photography in a post. So here goes. This was my first attempt at shooting a recipe outside, in order to convey the sunny, salad-appropriate weather. Initially I thought it would be a doddle, as there is so much light around. However, the light is harder to control, as its not just coming from one direction. This results in everything seeming to cast a shadow. Some careful bouncing of the light with a reflector seemed to do the trick.
For the salad:
I large chicken breast, skin removed, cut into thin strips
1 aubergine, sliced lengthways in slices about ½ cm thick
A few handfuls of mixed salad leaves
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 garlic cloves, crushed
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
For the spicy rub:
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp ground coriander seed
¼ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp olive oil
For the dressing:
1 tbsp plain yoghurt
1 tsp harissa paste
A few mint leaves, finely chopped
To get the charred lines on the aubergines you will need a griddle pan.
First, mix the spicy rub ingredients together and spread over the chicken strips, then leave in the fridge to marinate. Get the griddle pan hot, then mix together 1 tbsp olive oil and the crushed garlic, then brush over the aubergine slices. Griddle the aubergines for 1-2 minutes on each side. Set aside. Fry chicken for about 5 minutes on each side, until cooked through and starting to brown. Toast pumpkin seeds under the grill for one minute. Mix all the dressing ingredients together.
To assemble the salad- put the salad leaves on two plates, then top with the tomatoes, aubergine slices and chicken. Sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds and drizzle with the dressing. Serve while the chicken is still warm.