Here comes the sun!
To say I am little excited for the summer is somewhat of an understatement. Undoubtedly my favourite time of year, the summer months bring such flavour and vibrancy to this season’s offerings. Fruit and vegetables are in abundance, and herbs and spices seem as vibrant and fresh as ever. This makes the cooking process throughout this period extra special.
With temperatures hopefully on the rise, the thought of returning t0 alfresco dining adds an exciting dimension to cooking and preparing food. Naturally through the colder months we look to warming comfort food in the form of soups and stews, but changing our eating habits to suit the season is something of light relief. Turning to foods often in their raw, unadulterated, and understated forms – allowing their fresh flavours to take prominence – is the best way of appreciating this season’s offering in its amazing simplicity.
It is easy to eat cleanly and healthily during this time of year, when the selection of fruit and vegetables is almost infinite. This is a great opportunity to also look at marrying sweet and savoury flavours to achieve interesting flavour and texture combinations at meal times. This approach inspired my latest recipe of Goats cheese stuffed chicken with mango and rhubarb salsa.
As quite an understated meat, chicken is the ideal flavour carrier, and slightly lighter on the stomach for summer eating. The rich creaminess of goats cheese sits perfectly with this meat but craves a light, fresh and vibrant accompaniment to ensure the dish doesn’t become too heavy. Making use of the fruits on offer home and abroad during these months of ‘sunshine’, I created a sweet and refreshing mango and rhubarb salsa with a little hint of ginger and chilli to add depth and heat. As well as bringing out the mellow and comforting flavours of the cheese, it brought colour and vibrancy to the dish – exactly what you look for in alfresco dining! All we need now is the weather to match!
Here comes the sun…finger crossed!
- 4 chicken breasts
- 2 100g Somerset Goats Cheese
- Fussels’ Smoked Rapeseed Oil
- Variety of tomatoes
- 1 ripe mango
- 1 Chilli
- 1 Stick of Rhubarb
- Thumb sized piece of ginger
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp water
- 1/2 red onion
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- Bunch of coriander
- Using a sharp knife, slice a pocket into the side of the chicken breasts and stuff with the goats cheese. Season the outside of the chicken before rolling each breast in foil to form individual parcels. Before sealing the parcel. sprinkle a little smoked oil on each breast, then secure tightly. Place in an ovenproof dish and into a pre-heated oven at 180c. Cook for 30 minutes.
- Whilst the chicken cooks, prepare the salsa. Chop the rhubarb into small cubes and place in a pan along with grated ginger, sugar and water. Place on a low heat and allow the rhubarb to cook for around 5 mins, or until soft and slightly caramelised.
- In the meantime, finely chop the mango, onion, chilli and coriander and set aside in a bowl. Once the rhubarb has softened, place in a separate bowl and allow to slightly cool. Once the rhubarb is cooled, combine with the other salsa ingredients and leave to marinate in the fridge until the chicken is ready.
- 10 minutes before the end of cooking, remove the foil from the chicken and add the tomatoes. Sprinkle with a little more smoked oil and return to the oven.
- When the chicken and tomatoes appear golden, remove from the oven and serve with the salsa. Accompany this dish with a peppery salad of rocket and watercress as well as a minty-mayo potato salad.