Weep though I may at the huddled, sorrowful image of the few stallholders who comprise the Peckham Farmer's Market, the fruit and veg stall there has some fine produce: the other Sunday I picked up a big bag of lovely chard, the thinking man's spinach. A few paces away along the High Street you can find United Meats whence came a small halal chicken.The sourdough is from the fabulous local bakery Brick House.
I got the idea for the chicken from this recipe by Maria Elia. The low oven temperature keeps the flesh succulent and avoids too much burning of the marinade, although you do sacrifice a little crispiness of skin.
The spatchcocking bit, if you haven't done it before, is easy-peasy, as you can see here.
If you're serving this for one or two people, use the leftover chicken in a salad and/or in a sandwich such as this or this one.
1 small chicken, spatchcocked
2 plump garlic cloves
1 tsp salt
1 heaped tbsp Spanish smoked paprika dulce
2 tbsps olive oil
a big old handful of chard per person
a slice of sourdough per person
salt + black pepper
mostarda di cremona
Make a paste of the garlic, salt, paprika and olive oil (pestle and mortar or small processor) and smear all over the chicken. Leave to marinate for several hours or, ideally, overnight.
Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Lay the chicken breast side down in a roasting tin and place in the oven. After 30 minutes, take the roasting tin out and reduce the oven temperature to 160C/140C fan. Turn the chicken over and baste with its juices. Roast for 60 more minutes, basting several times.
Meanwhile, wash the chard and wilt in a pan. Allow to cool, then squeeze dry with your hands. Wipe the pan clean, and return the chard to it with a slice of butter and some salt and black pepper.
When the chicken is cooked, remove and allow to rest. While it's resting, get a griddle pan really hot. Brush both sides of your sourdough with olive oil and griddle until nice and golden on both sides.
Reheat the chard.
Joint the chicken. Place a slice of fried sourdough on each plate, followed by the chard, and top with chicken pieces. Squeeze a little lemon juice over.
If you happen to have any mostarda in the cupboard, serve a little on the side.
SHORTLISTED FOR FOOD BLOG OF THE YEAR 2014