I have a ceramic, charcoal burning barbecue. I love the way charcoal imparts a smokey resonance to meat and vegetables, a gentle seasoning all on its own. The clay keeps food moist. The lid is heavy and closes with a thud.
I am happy it is spring and can cook out-of-doors while my son races around on his bike, while I drink good wine in the sunshine. I like the simple meals cooking out doors inspires.
I especially like this chicken salad for shoulder season eating. While the sun may be shining, the garden is not quite seeded, and we make do with the freshest Italian Parsley we can find, a bag of raw organic almonds, a lemon, and some thick organic free-run chicken breast.
A Salad of Grilled Chicken, Parsley and Almonds
I love to use parsley in salad when grocery store lettuces seem a bit tired and wilted. Parsley lasts an age and has a good fresh pick-me-up effect. Here it pairs well with the robust flavours of grilled chicken and chili toasted almonds.
- Rub a few high quality chicken breasts with olive oil and season heavily with coarse sea salt and cracked pepper. Grill and let rest.
- Pull the parsley leaves from their stems and toss in a salad bowl.
- Toast a few handfuls of raw unpeeled almonds until browning and fragrant. Toss in a small drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and chili flakes. Chop roughly. Save some to nibble on with a glass of wine (I often serve these almonds to guests before a dinner and they are always satisfying with a pre-dinner drink).
- Slice the chicken and toss with other ingredients. Drizzle all with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.
We ate this with thick slices of bread toasted and rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil and a good sprinkle of salt.
It has been a while since I last posted. Sorry. Stay tuned for more. It is planting time in the gardens and I plan on many good vegetables to inspire a summer of outdoor cooking.