"The black sesame is striking, a squid-ink velvet black," says McConnell. "Try to source organic black sesame paste, which is widely available in organic and good food stores."
- 1.2 kg chicken, legs removed and reserved for another use
- 3 spring onions (tops reserved for spring onion oil), cut into 5cm pieces
- 5 coriander sprigs
- 4 thick slices ginger, bruised
- ¼ tsp white peppercorns
- 1 Lebanese cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp ground Sichuan pepper
- 75 gm black sesame paste (see note)
- 1½ tsp lemon juice
- 10 gm sugar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) light olive oil
- 1Rinse chicken under cold water, drain and remove excess fat and skin from the cavity and around the neck. Remove the parson’s nose and discard. Place the chicken in a large saucepan, add spring onion, coriander, ginger, peppercorns, ¼ tsp sea salt flakes and enough water to cover the chicken well. Cover and bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave chicken to stand for 1 hour. Place in a container with enough cooking liquid to cover and refrigerate until chilled (3-4 hours). Remove chicken and pat dry. Remove the breast meat and carve into 1cm-thick slices.
- 2For black sesame dressing, whisk all the ingredients in a bowl with 20ml of water, adding more if the sauce is too thick.
- 3For spring onion oil, warm oil in a saucepan over low heat to 70C. Add spring onions and remove from the heat. Leave to cool for 3 minutes, then transfer to a blender and purée at high speed. Refrigerate to cool (1 hour), then strain through a fine sieve.
- 4To serve, spoon black sesame dressing on a platter, arrange cucumber slices on top, then sliced chicken and season with sea salt flakes. Drizzle spring onion oil around the dish, sprinkle with Sichuan pepper and scatter with leaves.
Note Black sesame paste is available from select supermarkets, delicatessens and health-food shops. If it's unavailable, substitute tahini thinned with a little water.
Drink Suggestion: 2012 Channing Daughters “Long Island Ramato” Pinot Grigio, New York. The wine’s oily skin-contact texture complements the delicate chicken with plenty of exotic stone-fruit notes to go with the sesame. Drink suggestion by Leanne Altmann