This salty, herby native Australian green adds wonderful flavour to meat dishes; call it the Aussie bay leaf, if you will. They are extra tasty when deep-fried, giving texture to salads, roasts and vegetables.
- ¼ cup dried salt bush or bay leaves
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 whole chicken (about 1.8kg), butterflied
- 2 red onions, quartered (with root end on)
- 2 eggplant, sliced 5mm thick lengthways
- 4 zucchini, sliced 5mm thick lengthways
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
You can start this recipe the night before.
Use a mortar and pestle or spice grinder to grind up the salt bush (or bay leaves). Combine in a bowl with the cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, thyme, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and half the oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Rub the marinade all over the chicken on both sides, getting into all the hidden joints. Marinate in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes, or overnight.
Preheat a covered BBQ grill plate to medium-high heat. Bring the chicken to room temperature for 20 minutes, then add it to the grill skin side down. Cover with the lid (or a large upside down saucepan if your BBQ doesn’t have a lid). Cook for about 8 minutes or until the skin is golden. Turn chicken over, cover again and cook for a further 15–20 minutes or until the juices run clear when you pierce a skewer into the thigh. Transfer to a tray, cover with foil and set aside to rest.
Brush the vegetables with the remaining oil. Start cooking the onions (they take the longest) on the BBQ for 5 minutes or until charred on both sides. Add the eggplant and zucchini, and cook for 2–4 minutes or until charred. Season the vegies with salt and pepper, and squeeze the remaining lemon juice over them. Serve them with the chook.
Recipe and images from Surfing the Menu by Dan Churchill and Hayden Quinn (Simon & Schuster Australia - $49.99). Available now where books are sold.