Friday, 8 May 2009

Poussin and caribbean salsa

Serves two with a vegetable side dish or salad

One fat poussin, spatchcocked
A few good pinches of chilli flakes
Juice and zest of half a lemon
A few cloves of garlic
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Half a cucumber, peeled and seeds scraped out with a teaspoon
Two spring onions
A mild hot green pepper, seeded
A pinch of thyme leaves
Salt and pepper
Juice of a lime
150ml crème fraîche

If you have a mortar and pestle, pound the chilli with some salt and then add the garlic to make a thick paste. Otherwise crush the garlic with the flat of a blade and some salt and crumble in the chilli. Add the pepper, lemon and olive oil and mix together well. Smear the marinade all over the poussin and leave it in a bowl covered with cling film or in a clear plastic food bag for as long as possible before cooking. An hour is fine, four to six hours is brilliant. Turn and massage the meat if you happen to be passing by.

If you have a food processor, blend all the ingredients for the salsa but leave it a little chunky. Otherwise finely chop the cucumber, spring onion and pepper and mix in the other bits. Cover with cling film and leave the salsa to sit for one hour or more in the fridge.

When you are ready to cook, heat a cast iron grill pan over a low heat for at least ten minutes until the pan is hot and smoking. Add the poussin, skin side down and press down on the meat with a spatula so the skin gets lovely and charred. Cook the poussin slowly over a low heat. It will stick to the pan at first, but don't turn it over until the skin releases from the pan on its own. It should take 20-30 minutes to cook the poussin, turning once or twice. To check it is done stick a skewer into the thickest part of the leg and catch some juices with a spoon. If they run clear, without any pinky red blood, then the chicken is cooked.

Rest the poussin for ten minutes on a wooden board under some foil, then chop in half and serve, accomapnied with the bowl of salsa for dipping and smearing.

Photos to come...

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