It may no longer be 27° in London, the wind and grey skies more reminiscent of autumn than spring, but I still want summer recipes, even if salad seems a bit, well, cold. And when I want something sunny, not stodgy, I turn to an Antipodean. Bill Granger’s book Open Kitchen is one that would do nothing for me in November, since it almost has a perma-tan, but it’s perfect in a British May that is wavering between scorching and stormy. Full of simple, short-order food, with only a few ingredients and steps per recipe, it’s one of those books that helps you get into the kitchen rather than keeping you out.
Tonight I came home thinking about how I hadn’t yet defrosted my fridge (ahem…) and still needed to use stuff up. Yet another packet of chicken legs and some rather sorry-looking asparagus were transformed by a dose of lemon, garlic and, in the case of the chicken, honey. I can honestly say that this was the tastiest piece of chicken I’ve eaten in a very, very long time. And I don’t even like honey.
Honey Lemon Chicken (adapted from Bills [sic] Open Kitchen) (if some nice publisher would explain to me the logic behind missing out that apostrophe I’d be grateful…)
You will need:
Cupboard (or things you may already have)
1 garlic clove per person, peeled and crushed or sliced
1 dessertspoon of honey per person (about 22g if you’re feeling in need of specifics)
1 chicken leg per person (he uses jointed chicken wings with their tips removed; life really is too short)
1 lemon per person (you need half a lemon of juice per chicken piece plus a wedge or two to squeeze over the finished chicken)
1. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°fan/gas 4.
2. Put the chicken in a roasting dish, sprinkle it with sea salt (and nothing else) and put it in the oven for about 20 minutes.
3. Whilst the chicken is roasting, mix the garlic with the juice of 1 lemon and stir in the honey until it dissolves (this is probably best with runny honey but it worked fine with the set stuff).
4. After the first twenty minutes of roasting, take the chicken out of the oven, pour over the dressing, stir until well coated and then roast for another 20 minutes or so, until the chicken is cooked (the juices will be clear when you cut into it, not pinkish).
5. Serve with some lemon wedges to squeeze over the skin.
I ate this with some past-its-best asparagus that had been dressed with olive oil and sliced garlic then roasted for about fifteen minutes. Absolutely glorious.