Gizzi's Griddled Baby Chicken with Fattoush, Yoghurt Sauce & Rose Harissa
I am a big fan of Gizzi Erskine - ever since she did Cook Yourself Thin years ago I've really liked her style of cooking which is fun without ever being too naughty. I got her Skinny Weeks and Weekend Feasts book for Christmas and it's full of cool worldly recipes that won't have you piling on the pounds, plus a few not so angelic ones for a Friday or Saturday treat day. This recipe, Griddled Baby Chicken with Fattoush, Yoghurt Sauce and Rose Harissa stood out, as this is the kind of food I make in the week anyway so thought I'd give Gizzi's version a try.
Again, like the Polpo cod recipe I cooked recently, I can't share the whole exact ingredients and method on here as it wouldn't be fair and I do suggest you buy her book. However, suffice to say that you need a poussin (one between two), which needs to be spatchcocked (cut in half down the backbone and squashed flat) and then marinated in zingy herbs, garlic and lemon. A poussin is just a baby chicken and you should be able to find one in your local supermarket - I got one by Gressingham ready spatchcocked, which was ideal. After marinating you need to get the poussin over a hot griddle for a few mins each side and transfer to the oven to finish off.
The fattoush is the green salad to go with it. Really, this needs toasted pitta bread as the base, as is traditional and as Gizzi asks, but I'm doing low carb so sadly had to go pitta free for this one (I sneaked a roasted pepper in instead). Lettuce, tomatoes, onion and mint are combined with what she calls 'base dressing' which is a vinagrette very similar to the one used to flavour the lentils in the recent Polpo cod dish. Gizzi advises the use of a Lebanese cucumber in the salad and despite having a series of Middle Eastern grocers just minutes from my house, it was Arctic outside so we went without.
The yoghurt sauce was lemon juice, garlic, dill and tahini combined with a dollop of rose harissa on top. I didn't have rose harissa paste, but I stirred a tablespoon of Turkish rose water into normal harissa paste and then dolloped it on and it seemed to work. I'll definitely make this sauce again - I always forget how great dill is with Middle Eastern food and tend to just use with fish.
Gizzi estimates this meal comes in just under 400 calories. As ever, much of this comes from the olive oil and the tahini, so don't be overgenerous with your proportions. This whole dish took under half an hour to make and got a big thumbs up all round, so its staying firmly on my midweek dinner repertoire.