I absolutely love salads, and i am not talking just a few lettuces leaves tossed together.  I take salads very seriously and i get so angry when restaurants/cafes serve salads with a dodgy dressing drizzled over top.  I really started to appreciate a good salad when i was working at the River Cafe in London.  I loved to do the larder section their as it was always so fresh and interesting. 

This salad is just one of those delicious impromptu salads which has texture, flavour and of course what is in season.  When deciding to make a salad, have a look in your fridge, pantry and garden.  Think flavours first and foremost then think textures, such as crunchy, juicy, acidic and so on.  I use a lot of pulses such as cracked wheat, barley, cous cous and lentils.  I then add a hearty dressing (which ideally add whilst still hot, so it soaks into the the pulses).  Then finish off with the herbs, vegetables, cheese etc.


Serves 5

200g durum wheat or any type of pulse
5 chicken breasts, flatten out with a rolling pin 1cm thick all over
fresh oregano or marjoram
2 lemons

2 slices good quality smoked bacon
2 cobs of fresh corn, kernels removed
1 red onion, cut into wedges
1 red chilli seeds removed and finely chopped (i used cherry chilli-wicked flavour)
generous handful wild rocket or any robust leaf
generous handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 tsp sumac
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
sherry or red wine vinegar

Firstly flatten out the chicken breasts by laying them between two sheets of gladwrap/plastic wrap and hitting them gently with a rolling pin or mallet.  You are wanting to even out the thickness of the breasts (1cm thick), put into a dish.
Remove the leaves from the stalk of the marjoram or oregano and pound with a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle.  Add a good squeeze of lemon juice and loosen the paste up with oil.  Pour over the chicken and marinate for as long as possible.  Set aside.

To make the dressing; 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar. 5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.

Cook the wheat in lightly salted water until tender (15 minutes).  Drain, drizzle over a little dressing, cool.  Set aside.
Heat up a fry pan with a little olive oil, sliced the bacon into strips and add to the fry pan and cook until golden brown.  Add the onion wedges, and corn kernels, cook gently for 5 minutes. 
Add to the wheat and mix through, add the herbs, chilli and rocket, sprinkle over the sumac and add a little more dressing. Mix gently together and taste, adjust seasoning as needed.

Heat up a heavy fry pan or griddle pan to very hot.  Remove the chicken from the marinade and cook until a delicious golden brown colour appears (3-4 minutes), turn over and continue on the other side.  Squeeze over a little fresh lemon juice and sprinkle over a little salt.  Serve with the salad, a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a cheek of lemon.