Truffled chicken2 sprigs thyme2golden shallots2bay leaves¼lemon1.5 kgfree-range chicken20 gmfresh black truffle, thinly sliced1 tbspextra-virgin olive oilTruffle butter50 gmunsalted butter, softened10 gmfresh black truffle, finely choppedSalt dough1 kgcheese salt (see note)1 kgplain flourWarm green bean and truffle salad500 gmgreen beans, trimmed 125 ml (½ cup) extra virgin-olive oil10 gmfresh black truffle, finely chopped
For truffle butter, place ingredients and 1 tsp sea salt in a bowl, combine well, cover and refrigerate until needed.
Place thyme, shallots, bay leaves and lemon in chicken cavity. Using fingers, gently loosen chicken skin from breasts and place truffle slices under skin. Place knobs of the truffle butter between the truffle slices and the chicken skin. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to allow truffle flavour to infuse the chicken.
For salt dough, combine salt and flour in a large bowl. Gradually add 600ml cold water in a steady stream, stirring to combine until a dough forms. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead gently for 10 minutes or until smooth. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 200C. On a lightly floured surface, roll salt dough to 2.5cm thick. Place chicken, breast-side down, in centre of dough and fold dough around chicken to completely encase. Transfer chicken, breast side up, to a lightly-oiled roasting pan. Roast chicken
for 1½ hours or until dough is golden brown.
Meanwhile, for warm green bean and truffle salad, cook beans in boiling salted water for 5-7 minutes or until tender, then drain and place in a bowl. Combine olive oil and finely chopped truffle in a bowl and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle beans with truffle oil and toss gently to combine.
To serve, transfer chicken to a chopping board, break salt dough open, discarding dough, carve chicken and serve with warm green bean and truffle salad.
Note Cheese salt (refined sea salt) is
available from Herbie's Spices. If unavailable, use finely ground
Where to buy truffles
You can buy Australian truffles direct from the producers - ask
for Al Blakers, of Manjimup Truffles, at the Five Acre Nursery, (08
9771 2258), or get in touch with fellow West Australians The Wine
& Truffle Company (www.wineandtruffle.com.au), or Duncan Garvey at
Tasmania's Perigord truffles (www.perigord.com.au). Otherwise Simon Johnson
stores around the country have WA truffles in stock, as does
Brisbane's Black Pearl Epicure, and other smaller premium
retailers. If the idea of entering into a truffle co-op appeals but
you can't find like-minded fellows, ask suppliers and delis; some -
such as Sydney's Black Bull Butchery, in Potts Point - organise
their own co-ops, and sell to their customers by the gram.