Over the last couple of weeks, Auckland has pulled out some stunning days of blue skies and sunshine. I love summer and it’s been wonderful taking advantage of this weather. We’ve been heading to beaches, parks, and we even took little bubs for her first trip to the zoo.
Of course, that means it has been really hot and so I’ve been pulling out lots of salads to eat lately. I decided to have a go at this salad which comes from Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals book. I really enjoy cookbooks but have found myself somewhat underwhelmed by this one – I’ve attempted three recipes so far and found the first two to be nothing I’d care to repeat. Also, each meal has taken faaaaar longer than 15 minutes, partly because I hate making a mess when I cook so I always clean as I go, but also because I consider things like boiling water and heating up pans as being part of the cooking time.
However, one of my sisters had eaten this particular salad before and so urged me to try it. Despite the fact that it took somewhere closer to 45 mins to make, I really enjoyed this dish and would happily make it again. There is a lot to the salad, but that’s what makes it so interesting to eat. It’s full of fresh flavours and healthy ingredients, and that’s a win for me post-Christmas! So I’ll probably check out a few more recipes from the book now.
I used alfalfa sprouts instead of cress (I’m not absolutely sure what the equivalent of cress is here in NZ) and I also used Ceres Organics Super Grain Mix instead of just one type of quinoa (it’s a mix of red, white and black quinoa as well as amaranth). If you don’t like things spicy or you’re making this for children, just omit the chillies.
Jamie Oliver’s blackened chicken with San Fran quinoa salad
1 fresh red or yellow chilli
100g baby spinach
4 spring onions
1 bunch fresh coriander
1 bunch fresh mint
1 ripe large mango
3 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1 ripe avocado
50g feta cheese
1 punnet of cress (or alfalfa sprouts)
2 x 200g skinless chicken breasts
1 heaped tsp ground allspice
1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
2 mixed-colour capsicum
4 Tbsp natural unsweetened yoghurt
Put the quinoa into a medium pot on medium-high heat and generously cover with boiling water and the lid.
Put the chilli, spinach, trimmed spring onions and coriander (reserving a few leaves) into a food processor, tear in the top leafy half of the mint then blitz until finely chopped.
On a large sheet of greaseproof paper, toss the chicken with salt, pepper, the allspice and paprika. Fold over the paper, then bash and flatten the chicken to 1.5cm thick with a rolling pin or meat tenderiser. Place in a large frying pan over high heat with 1 Tbsp of the olive oil, turning after 3 or 4 minutes, until blackened and cooked through.
Meanwhile, deseed the capsicum, cut each one into 8 strips and add to the frying pan, tossing regularly.
Peel and cut the mango into chunks. Drain the quinoa and rinse under cold running water, then drain well again and tip onto a large serving board or platter. Pour the blitzed spinach mixture over the top, squeeze over the lime juice, add the 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, then mix everything together well and season to taste.
Sprinkle the mango chunks and cooked capsicum over the quinoa. Halve and destone the avocado, then use a teaspoon to scoop curls of it over the salad.
Slice up the chicken, toss the slices in any remaining juices and add to the salad. Crumble over the feta, scatter over the remaining coriander leaves and alfalfa sprouts (or snip over the cress). Serve with dollops of yoghurt.