It’s a real mothership this one, a monster among salads. I’ve piled it here on to a huge plate so everyone can help themselves. The name undersells it somewhat. The brining of the chicken is not vital, but will give lots of moisture to the final dish.
Chicken and bacon salad (serves 4 – 6 with no other accompaniments):
4 chicken breasts, sliced into fingery pieces
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 star anise
1 red onion, diced
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4 rashers of bacon, sliced into strips
Half a french stick
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
2 little gems lettuces, broken up
Handful of other interesting leaves, something bitter is good
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
Splash of milk
Heavy-handed dash of Worcestershire sauce
Couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- Prepare a brine of 8% salt solution, adding the syrup, star anise and cloves. Plop the chicken in and soak for at least 4 hours. Drain well and rinse under cold water.
- Cover the onion in vinegar and a sprinkle of salt and leave to marinate while you get on with the rest. Get the oven on 180°C.
- Begin to fry the bacon in batches so the pan isn’t crowding until browned and crisp, draining on kitchen roll as you go. Once this lot’s done make a start on frying the chicken until cooked through.
- Tear up the bread, and toss in a baking tray with salt, pepper, oil and the pumpkin seeds. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Mix the mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce and oil together, adding milk if necessary to make a gloopy dressing. Check for seasoning too.
- Scrunch up the onions to drain the liquid off, then combine the chicken, bacon, bread and seeds with the lettuce. Drizzle over the sauce and toss well to combine.