Salt-baked chicken and salty avocado accompanying

Salt-baked chicken and salty avocado accompanying

Green Pickled Peaches
Chris Chen

I still have a lingering disbelief of avocado as a savoury flavour. I’m taking the cooling and creamy aspect of the avocado, which is what I associate with fruit, and translating it into a savoury presentation.

For salt-baked chicken


Quantity Ingredient
2 teaspoons peanut oil
3 garlic cloves, smashed
4 spring onions, bruised
4cm piece of ginger, bruised
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
100ml light chicken s tock
4 coriander stalks
2kg chicken
3kg rock salt
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 star anise, roughly crushed
3 cloves, roughly crushed
1 teaspoon sichuan peppercorns
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
4cm piece of ca ssia bark, roughly crushed
1 large piece of caul fat, about 200 g

For the avocado puree

Quantity Ingredient
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 red asian shallots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
5cm piece of ginger, peeled and julienned
500ml light chicken s tock
100ml glutinous rice wine
1 avocado
a few drops ses ame oil


  1. Salt-bake the chicken:
  2. Make the marinade first. Heat the oil in a frying pan over high heat and add the garlic, spring onions and ginger. Stir-fry until fragrant and wilted. Add the sherry, fry for a few seconds, then add the soy sauce, chicken stock and coriander. Cool before proceeding. Carefully fill the cavity of the chicken with the marinade. Sew or skewer shut any openings, then sit the chicken, covered with a cloth, in a cool place for about 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Put the rock salt in a dutch oven or similar ovenproof dish that is big enough to take the salt plus chicken. Put in the oven uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add the spices to the pot and return it to the oven for 10 minutes for the salt to become fragrant with the spices.
  3. Take out one-third of the salt to use as a covering and make a nest of the salt left in the pot. Wrap up the chicken with the caul fat and sit in the nest of salt. Pour the one-third of salt back in to totally cover the sides and top of the chicken. Cover the pot and return to the oven for 1½ hours. Remove the chicken and brush off all the salt stuck to it. Remove the caul fat. Drain the marinade out of the chicken’s cavity before cutting the chicken into serving pieces.
  4. Make the avocado puree:
  5. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Throw in the shallots, garlic and ginger and sweat them until cooked but not coloured. Pour the chicken stock into the pan. Bring the mixture to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes until syrupy. The amount should be 100 ml. Add the rice wine and bring up to simmering point again. Strain, then leave the liquid to cool. Purée the flesh of the avocado in a blender or food processor. Quickly add the strained liquid. Season with salt and white pepper to emphasise the sweetness of the avocado mixture. Mix in a couple of drops of sesame oil.
  6. Assemble the dish:
  7. I like to serve the chicken hot as a contrast to the coldness of the avocado. For each serve take some breast fillet and boned thigh or leg meat and serve with a dollop of avocado purée. You could also serve with an accompaniment of lightly fried, shredded ginger, garlic, spring onions and sliced fresh shiitake and shimeji mushrooms, seasoned with salt, white pepper and a little rice vinegar.
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