Cookbook Review: The Ivy Now

After 100 years, The Ivy remains London’s most famous restaurant. There can be few stars, musicians, writers, royals, artists, and raconteurs who have not taken centre stage for a night at this legendary restaurant.

The Ivy Now contains all the dishes, cooking secrets and stories behind the restaurant’s success. Charismatic Maitre d’ Fernando Peire tells us the story behind this iconic landmark—the history, the theatre, the celebrities and the scandal—and chefs Gary Lee and Tim Hughes share with us 120 classic recipes, including the Ivy’s signature fishcakes, Asian-inspired salads, and desserts.

The Ivy Now: The Restaurant and its Recipesis available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.


Fragrant Chicken Salad with Lime, Coconut and Chilli Dressing

Serves 4

500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock (broth) (a good stock cube will do, with the trimmings from the veg and herbs)
1 stick of lemongrass
2 skinless, boneless, free-range, organic chicken breasts

Lime, coconut and chilli dressing
1 medium red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
4 lime leaves
1 large garlic clove
2-cm (¾-in) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 Tbsp manuka or good clear honey
juice of 2 limes
150 ml (²⁄³ cup) coconut cream, seasoned with ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp caster (superfine) sugar
2 Tbsp fish sauce
Small pinch of dried chilli (red pepper) flakes
1 tsp ground coriander

To serve

3 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced at an angle ½ small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
½ small bunch of Thai basil, torn
½ small bunch of coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped, plus extra leaves to garnish
½ small bunch of mint, finely chopped
1 large carrot, julienned
40 g (1½ oz) mooli (daikon), julienned
40 g (¾ cup) beansprouts
1 Tbsp sesame seeds

To poach the chicken, put the stock (broth) with the vegetable and herb trimmings and half of the lemongrass stick into a large saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat. Add the chicken breasts and simmer gently for about 20 minutes, or until cooked. Remove from the heat, drain and set the chicken aside.

While the chicken is poaching, make the lime, coconut and chilli dressing. Place the chilli, lime leaves, garlic, remaining lemongrass and ginger into a pestle and mortar or small electric grinder and pound or grind until the juices start to flow. Once pounded and the juices have come out, press the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve (strainer), retaining the liquid for the dressing and discarding everything else. Add the honey and lime juice to the liquid and stir well. Whisk in the coconut cream, fish sauce, chilli (red pepper) flakes and ground coriander. Taste-wise, you’re looking for a fragrant, sweet and sour flavour, and consistency-wise, this should resemble a thick vinaigrette.

Once the chicken has cooled, shred it into small pieces and put into a large salad bowl. Add 2 of the sliced spring onions (scallions), the herbs, julienned carrot and mooli (daikon), the bean sprouts and sesame seeds. Gently mix these together, add half the dressing, mix again and add more dressing as needed.

Garnish with the remaining spring onion and more coriander (cilantro) leaves and serve immediately.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Quadrille Publishing.

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