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Basil chicken on salad of grilled and marinated vegetables

Basil chicken on salad of grilled and marinated vegetables

Flavours of basil pesto on summer vegetables are always welcome in my home. This is another dish you can enjoy hot or cold.


  • 2 kilograms chicken
  • ¼ cup basil pesto
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable salad

  • 1 aubergine
  • approximately 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 red peppers
  • 6 spring onions
  • 200 grams sugar snap peas, mangetout or beans - or a mix of all three
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • approximately 12 baby corn spears, optional
  • 4 courgettes, trimmed
  • ¼ cup oil for pan frying
  • ¾ cup vinaigrette
  • ½ cup lentils, optional


  1. With a sharp pair of kitchen scissors or heavy cook's knife, cut the backbone from the chicken and discard. Flatten out the chicken.
  2. Carefully lift the skin and spoon the pesto between the skin and meat on the breast, leg and thigh portions. Press down with your hand on top of the skin to smooth the pesto evenly over the chicken.
  3. Rub chicken liberally with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Set aside to marinate for 2 hours or overnight.
  4. Bake the chicken at 200ºC for about 1½-1¾ hours. To check when it is cooked, pierce between the thigh and leg joint. If the juices are clear, the chicken is cooked. If the juices are pink, return to the oven for 10 minutes. Stand for about 15 minutes until cool enough to handle.
  5. Cut the chicken into 6 serving sized portions and serve on top of the salad or cool and refrigerate the chicken and serve cold on the salad.

Vegetable salad

  1. Cut aubergine into 2cm round slices. Sprinkle liberally with the salt and place in a colander for 30 minutes. Rinse. Pat dry.
  2. Cut the peppers into four, discarding the seeds and membrane. Trim the spring onions and cut in half crosswise.
  3. Blanch the sugar snap peas, mangetout or beans, asparagus and baby corn quickly in boiling salted water and refresh under cold water. Pat dry. Slice the courgette lengthwise in three and halve the corn lengthwise.
  4. Heat the oil in frying pan and add one vegetables at a time. Cook over a high heat until they are well browned on each side but not burnt.
  5. Transfer to a large flat non-metallic container and pour over the vinaigrette. Marinate for 30-60 minutes or overnight. If using the lentils. Soak the lentils in cold water for one hour before cooking in freshly salted water for 30-45 minutes, until tender. Refresh under cold water. Add to the marinating vegetables.

Cooks Tips

- The aubergine will soak up oil - and keep soaking it up as it cooked. To avoid this, I brush each slice with oil and pan fry it very gently to ensure it's cooked all the way through. If wished, add more oil, but be careful not to make the dish too oily. - To can use canned baby corn (well drained) in place of fresh.

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