Ginger scented chicken with basil and cherries

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Serves 4


For the chicken
200g chicken breasts
5cm piece of root ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
3 spring onions
A ladleful of chicken stock (optional)

For the salad

A couple of handfuls oqf lamb’s lettuce or oak leaf lettuce
1 large cucumber, peeled, deseeded and cut into thin crescents
3 spring onions, halved and sliced lengthways
A handful of basil leaves
100g cherries, pitted and halved
For the first dressing (choose one or the other)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lime juice
A pinch of caster sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the second dressing

1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp mirin
1 tsp honey
1 garlic clove, crushed or grated
A few drops of sesame oil
Sesame seeds, to serve

Poach the chicken breasts. Put them in a single layer in a shallow, lidded pan. Cover them with stock or water with the ginger and garlic. Add the spring onions. Bring to a simmer, then cook over the lowest possible heat for 7-10 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breast. Check for doneness after 7 min by inserting a skewer. If it comes out too hot to touch for more than a second, the chicken is done. Allow the chicken to cool (this can be done in advance).

2. When you’re ready to assemble the salad, cut or tear the chicken into bite-sized pieces and put it in a small pan. Pour on the stock. Reheat gently.

3. Pile the salad leaves on to a serving plate and add the cucumber. Drain the chicken from the broth. Arrange the meat over the salad if using the first dressing; set the broth aside if using the second dressing.

4. Sprinkle the spring onions, basil leaves and cherries over the salad.

5. For the first dressing, mix together the dressing ingredients, then season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over the salad.

6. For the second dressing, add the soy sauce, mirin, honey and garlic to the stock in the pan. Heat until well-reduced and syrupy, then return the chicken and coat it thoroughly in the sauce. Proceed as before, but drizzle some of the remaining sauce over the salad, along with the sesame oil and seeds.

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