Poussin, fig and rocket salad.
Spatchcocking a bird means very simply cutting out its backbone and flattening it out so that you can grill it and get as much of the delicious, marinaded skin in contact with flame or heat to get gorgeous, crispy skin and masses of flavour. Ask your butcher to do it or try it yourself, or just cut up the poussin in pieces before you cook it on the grill. Salting the bird the day before improves the flavour hugely, giving you a juicy succulent bird. This is a glorious salad for a sunny day.
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp grappa, eau de vie or vin santo
A generous handful of thyme leaves
¼ loaf of country-style bread or sourdough, torn into roughly shaped, large crumbs
12 rashers of thinly sliced streaky bacon or pancetta
6 very ripe figs
Two large handfuls of rocket, washed
For the dressing
1 shallot, finely chopped
2-3 tbsp red wine vinegar/balsamic vinegar (or a mix of the two)
Extra virgin olive oil
1 very ripe fig
To spatchcock the bird, take a pair of sturdy scissors (meat scissors are designed for this job) and cut all along the length of the backbone on both sides to cut out. Now place the bird on a chopping board and press down sharply and firmly onto the breastbone so that the bird flattens out. Mix the sea salt, thyme leaves and black pepper together. Sprinkle the bird with the alcohol, rub with the salt mix and leave to season overnight.
When you are ready to eat, make the dressing by mashing the fig up with the vinegar and mixing it in with the shallot and seasoning well with salt and pepper. Heat a griddle-pan or barbeque and when either are hot enough, cook the poussin skin side down first until golden, about 10 minutes and then turn and cook on the other side until the breast is just cooked. Take the bird off the heat to rest in a warm place and cut off the thighs and continue to cook them for another few minutes until the meat is no longer pink. Meanwhile, toss the torn bread in olive oil, season with salt and pepper and fry, tossing frequently in a frying pan over a medium-low heat until golden and crunchy all over. Fry the bacon until crisp.
Slice the figs. Arrange the rocket leaves in a salad bowl and scatter with the breadcrumbs and fig slices. Mix 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil into the vinegar. Carve the chicken into nice big chunks and arrange over the salad with the crispy bacon. Dress with the figgy vinaigrette and serve at once.