The key to chicken escabeche is using a good quality aioli, and adding some of the pickling liquid to the final mixture. For a picnic, serve it between a couple of slices of good, crunchy sourdough with your favourite pickles. It also makes a tasty lunch without any bread, just a green salad on the side.
2 red onions
60ml extra virgin olive oil
4 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
small pinch saffron threads
1 large carrot, cut into 5cm lengths and julienned
250ml white wine vinegar
250ml dry white wine
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tsp sea salt flakes
500g skinless chicken breast fillets
1½ cups aioli
½ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Cut the onions into 5mm thick wedges. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onions, bay leaves, garlic and saffron. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent; do not allow the onion to brown.
Add the carrot, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the carrot begins to soften. Add the vinegar, wine, peppercorns, water and salt. Increase the heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes to concentrate the flavours and cook out the vinegar and wine.
Add the chicken and cook for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Transfer the chicken and cooking liquid to a non-reactive bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Next day, tip the mixture into a sieve placed over a bowl; reserve the solids and liquid. Remove and discard the bay leaves and peppercorns, shred the chicken into thin strips and place in a bowl. Add the cooked onion and carrot to the chicken with the aioli, parsley and 100ml of reserved cooking liquid. Mix well and check for seasoning. Serve chilled with toasted crusty bread.