Easy Weekends, 230pp.
by Neil Perry
Murdoch Books Australia, Sydney, 2012
Cooking on page 32–33
Neil Perry is a big name in Australia and one of the country’s one leading chefs. He has managed several restaurants in Sydney and today concentrates on his seven restaurants in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, and Rockpool Consulting.
In addition to this book, he’s written seven others—Rockpool, Simply Asian, The food I love, Good food, Balance and harmony, Rockpool Bar and Grill and Simply good food.
This is the first book of his that I’ve cooked from and surely not the last.
Roast chicken with tofu and avocado salsa
1.6 kg (3 lb 8 oz) free-range roast chicken (organic if possible), meat removed from the bones and sliced
1 iceberg lettuce heart, shredded
50 g (1¾ oz) cherry tomatoes, halved
60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
150 g (5½ oz) silken tofu
1 ripe avocado
100 g (3½ oz) fresh ricotta cheese
juice of 1 lemon
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
To make the salsa, mash all the ingredients in a bowl, season to taste, then whisk until well combined.
Divide the lettuce among four plates. Combine the tomatoes, olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl and season to taste. Spoon the tomatoes over the lettuce, then top with the sliced chicken. Serve the salsa on the side or in generous dollops on the chicken.
Note: Keep the skin on the chicken. It’s the best bit!
How it played out
My cooked chook (Aussie slang for chicken) weighed just over a kilo and I thought about reducing the other elements, but decided not to. So I made the full amount of salad base and salsa.
Along the way, I tasted the ricotta (bland), tofu (even blander) and avocado (now we’re getting some flavour) and was quite sure the salsa would be totally boring. But the shot of lemon, salt and pepper helped to create a salsa that was totally delicious and went so well with the chook.
My mum always taught me not to cut lettuce because it will rust where the cuts have been made, so I peeled off quite a few leaves and sliced them separately. I also tripled the amount of tomatoes. Four cherry tomatoes weigh 50 grams—that would have been one tomato per person and not nearly enough.
I didn’t use all the chicken skin—some bits are nicer that others—so I used only the crunchiest and crispiest bits, and the dog loved the rest. I also assembled everything on a single platter so people could serve themselves. The extra salsa was served on the side.
A surprisingly delicious result. A cooked chook is only as good as it’s maker, and I bought mine from Supabarn, and it was good and cheap too at $9.99.
I expected the salsa to be bland and boring, but it was delicious and got lots of compliments from all the diners. So a great result.
I made this in an Australian winter and served it at room temp, but it has all the signs of being a dish that is perfect for summer.
If you have a moment, be sure to check out my travel blog. We’re enjoying Europe at the moment, and France in particular.