Try this delicious Grilled Chicken With Pickled Watermelon Salad from the ‘Lunch By The Sea’ recipes in Gourmet Traveller’s recipe book Menu.
Begin this recipe a day ahead to pickle the watermelon.
PREP TIME: 25 MINS
COOK 1 HR: 20 MINS
(PLUS COOLING, PICKLING, MARINATING, RESTING)
- 2 chickens (about 1.8kg each), butterflied, backbone removed
- 160 gm light palm sugar, crushed
- 250 ml (1 cup) fish sauce
- 250 ml (1 cup) lime juice
- 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, plus extra to serve
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
- Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 10 golden shallots, thinly sliced on a mandolin
- 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced on a mandolin
- For pickled watermelon rind, place rind in a non-reactive container (see cook’s notes p279)
and set aside. Stir vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, bring to the boil, then set aside to cool. When cool, add chilli and ginger, and pour mixture over watermelon rind. Cover and refrigerate overnight to pickle.
- Place chickens in a non-reactive dish and set aside. Pound palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice using a large mortar and pestle, then pour half the mixture over chickens and refrigerate, turning occasionally, for 1 hour to marinate. Refrigerate remaining dressing until required.
- Meanwhile, cook spelt in boiling water until tender (30-40 minutes). Drain well, spread on a tray and set aside to cool.
- For crisp shallots and garlic, heat vegetable oil in a deep saucepan to 160C, add shallot and deep-fry in batches, stirring frequently, until crisp and golden (1-2 minutes; be careful, hot oil will spit). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with garlic. Store separately in airtight containers until required.
- Heat a char-grill pan over medium-high heat (or use a barbecue). Drain chickens from marinade and grill skin-side down until crisp (10-15 minutes), then turn and grill until cooked through (10-15 minutes). Set aside to rest for 10-15 minutes.
- 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 extra herbs, and serve with pickled watermelon salad.
NOTE: Spelt, a grain, similar to barley, is available from health-food shops and select delicatessens. If it’s unavailable, substitute freekah or farro perlato.
WINE SUGGESTION: Full-flavoured rosé made from grenache.