Sunday, 10 June 2012

A cheery salad for a dreary (but fun) day - griddled chicken & corn on the cob

I am beginning to have grave concerns that by the end of this summer, I am going to be over-community’ed, and all event’ed out. Not that I have any objections to community or events, but we do seem to be having rather a lot of them.

The year’s most important event did of course take place in April when I celebrated my 40th birthday, and still to come we have the Sheepfair which is a big village weekend event taking place in July, and, of course, the Olympics. But before those auspicious occasions, this week we have already seen the Jubilee Big Lunch on Sunday, and today, we had the Village Green Olympics.

OK, so maybe that's a little ambitious...

In the best traditions of the English village (Morris dancing, scarecrow festivals, wheelbarrow races) this medley of ‘it’s a knockout’ type races organised by 3 of the local sports clubs, saw the village’s finest dressed up in ladies underwear for ‘bleach volleyball’, and competing to roll tyres, pull each other on trolleys or skip in pairs round hay bales, compete in a team sack race (4 in a ‘sack’ – amazing the uses you can find for a ‘hippo bag’)  – not to mention my personal favourite, ‘Octopussy’, where each team had to shuffle, legs tied together (there were 6 in a team), and enveloped in a huge octopus outfit which only one team member could see out of, along a hay bale slalom course. The presence of a beer tent put paid to any sensible negotiation of that particular race.  In a bid to stave off the disappointment that we as a village felt personally, having been unable to persuade the powers that be to alter the torch route so that it came through the village, an enterprising fellow had ‘obtained’ a torch that his employers had manufactured for the Turin winter Olympics and we had a torch relay anyway. Only in England...

The weather was good – considering the forecast – and we got away with only a little light drizzle under dreary skies until the final medal ceremony when, as befits any such event, the heavens opened. However, after an afternoon in the damp and frankly chilly, outdoors, I was ready for something cheery for supper. The children had stuffed their faces with sandwiches and cake in the church hall after the event, so it fell to the Husband and I to partake of what I’d actually planned:

Griddled chicken and corn on the cob salad, with honey and lime dressing

“Oh no!” I hear you cry, but yes – another recipe from June 2012 Good Food, although slightly adapted as ever. There is a pretty good feature in the issue with 5 main course salads plus 5 different dressings to mix and match. I did the Mexican salad with tortilla croutons the other week, and  very nice it was too, but tonight’s was really good. The recipe doesn’t seem to be on the website so I can’t link you to the original, but here’s my version, to serve 2 with leftovers for packed lunches.

Ingredients: For the Salad - 2 chicken breasts, 2 garlic cloves, crushed, 1 ½ dessert spoons smoked paprika, juice of ¾ lemon, olive oil, 2 corn on the cobs, 4 little gem lettuces, quartered lengthways, 1/3  cucumber, diced. For the dressing – zest & juice of 1 lime (plus the juice out of an end of lime hanging around in the fridge – the rest having been used for gin), 1½ tablespoons runny honey, 1½ tablespoons white wine vinegar (honey and vinegar can definitely be adjusted to taste) seasoning.

Method: Slice the chicken horizontally so you get 4 thin breasts, then slice into strips. Mix together the garlic, smoked paprika, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and seasoning in a dish big enough to take the chicken, then add the chicken and mix to coat. Leave for at least 15 minutes to marinade. If like me you haven’t already sliced up the lettuce or diced the cucumber, you can do that now, and put in your serving dish.

Make the salad dressing by whisking together all the ingredients in a bowl. This is definitely one to make to taste, so check if you need to add more honey or vinegar, and seasoning.

Once the chicken has marinaded, heat a griddle pan and brush with a little oil. When hot, cook the chicken, turning after about 3-4 mins depending on how thick your strips are. You can easily tell if it’s cooked by slicing into a strip and checking. Once the chicken is cooked, add to the salad, and then brush the griddle with a little more oil if needed and griddle the corn on the cob, turning it frequently to ensure that it cooks evenly. Once it is lightly charred - it tastes lovely and smoky  - remove the corn and cut off the kernels with a heavy knife – to do this, stand the cob on one end and slice down. The kernels should pop off. Sometimes it’s easier to stand the cob up in a bowl to catch the kernels as they pop off, so they don’t fly off all over the kitchen floor...   

Add the corn to the salad, and serve with the dressing. It looks lovely and cheerful - just the antidote to the grey skies of the English summer.

1 comment:

  1. yum!
    Loveley and healthy.
    Will nose around the rest of your blog now...


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