Chicken Salad With Lavender And Herbs
The delightful scent of lavender has a natural affinity with sweet garlic, orange and other wild herbs. The addition of fried polenta makes this salad both filling and delicious.
4 boneless chicken breasts
900ml/1½ pints/3¾ cups light chicken stock
175g/6oz/1 cup fine polenta or cornmeal
50g/2oz butter, plus extra for greasing 450g/1lb young spinach
175g/6oz lamb's lettuce
8 sprigs fresh lavender
8 small tomatoes, halved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE MARINADE
6 fresh lavender flowers
10ml/2 tsp finely grated orange zest
2 garlic cloves, crushed
10ml/2 tsp clear honey
30ml/2 tbsp olive oil
10ml/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
10ml/2 tsp chopped fresh marjoram
1. To make the marinade, strip the lavender flowers from the stems and combine with the orange zest, garlic, honey and salt. Add the oil and herbs. Slash the chicken deeply, spread the mixture over the chicken and leave to marinate in the fridge for 20 minutes.
2. To make the polenta, bring the chicken stock to the boil in a heavy saucepan. Add the cornmeal in a steady stream, stirring all the time until thick. Turn the cooked polenta out on to a shallow buttered tray and leave to cool.
3. Cook the chicken on a medium barbecue or under the grill for about 15 minutes, basting with the marinade and turning once, until cooked through.
4. Cut the polenta into 2.5cm/1 inch cubes using a wet knife. Heat the butter in a large frying pan and fry the polenta until golden.
5. Divide the salad leaves between four dinner plates. Slice each chicken breast and arrange over the salad. Arrange the polenta among the salad, decorate with sprigs of lavender and tomato halves, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve.