Grilled chicken with pickled watermelon salad


This dish has all the elements of a perfect summer Christmas dish: vibrant, crisp watermelon, fresh herbs and sweet and sour pickled rind. You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.

You'll need

2 chickens (about 1.8kg each), butterflied, backbone removed 250 ml (1 cup) fish sauce 250 ml (1 cup) lime juice 160 gm light palm sugar, crushed 150 gm (1 cup) spelt (see note) 600 gm watermelon, thickly sliced (reserve rind for pickle) 2 cups (loosely packed) mint 1 cup each (loosely packed) coriander, Thai basil and Vietnamese mint   Pickled watermelon rind 100 gm watermelon rind, thinly sliced on a mandolin 250 ml (1 cup) rice wine vinegar 165 gm (¾ cup) caster sugar 1 long red chilli, split 5 gm (1cm piece) ginger, thinly sliced   Crisp shallots and garlic For deep-frying: vegetable oil 10 golden shallots, thinly sliced on a mandolin 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced on a mandolin

Method

  • 01
  • For pickled watermelon rind, place rind in a non-reactive container and set aside. Stir rice wine vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, set aside to cool, then add remaining ingredients and pour over watermelon rind. Cover and refrigerate overnight to pickle.
  • 02
  • Place chickens in a non-reactive dish and set aside. Pound fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar in a large mortar and pestle to combine, pour half over chicken and refrigerate to marinate (1 hour). Refrigerate remaining dressing until required.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, cook spelt in boiling salted water until tender (30-40 minutes). Drain well, spread on a tray and set aside to cool.
  • 04
  • Meanwhile, for crisp shallots and garlic, heat oil in a deep saucepan to 160C, add shallots and deep-fry in batches, stirring frequently, until crisp and golden (1-2 minutes; be careful as hot oil will spit), remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper. Deep-fry garlic, stirring frequently, until crisp and golden (1-2 minutes; be careful as hot oil will spit), remove and drain on absorbent paper. Store in an airtight container until required.
  • 05
  • Heat a char-grill pan (or barbecue) over medium-high heat. Drain chicken from marinade, char-grill skin-side down until crisp (10-15 minutes), turn, char-grill until cooked through (10-15 minutes). Set aside to rest.
  • 06
  • Combine watermelon wedges, spelt, herbs and pickled watermelon rind in a bowl, drizzle with reserved dressing and toss to combine. Scatter chicken with crisp shallots and garlic and serve with pickled watermelon salad.

Note Spelt is a grain, similar to barley, available from health-food shops and select delicatessens. If it's unavailable, substitute freekah or farro perlato (you may need to adjust cooking times and quantities).


At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people
The Gourmet Traveller podcast

Each fortnight we round up the most interesting characters from the food world for your listening pleasure. We chat to chefs, cooks, authors, bar tenders and baristas - anyone who has something new and interesting to say about the way we like to eat and drink.

Listen
Recipe collections

Looking for fresh dinner ideas? Not sure how to make the most out of seasonal produce? Or do you need to plan the perfect party menu? Our recipe collections have you covered.

See more

At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people

Featured in

Dec 2011

You might also like...

Alistair’s secret barbecue sauce

recipes

Poached eggs with creamed corn and green chilli relish

Egg, spinach, rocket and feta breakfast tart

recipes

Grilled peaches with sherry and apricot-delight ice-cream

Lemon and raspberry iced tea

recipes

Ginger beer with lime

Pineapple-jerked pork neck with crushed pineapple relish and black bean and rice salad

recipes

conversion tool