This dish combines two of the best seasonal veggies at this time of year. The bright red saffron threads add a wonderful colour and subtle flavour but use it sparingly.
Try using a small handful of chervil or dill for a slightly different flavour to parsley. Dill works really well with broad beans. Saffron marinated chicken is a classic Persian flavour combination (we couldn’t resist!) but the dish works perfectly well as a warm salad without the chicken.
Saffron is the delicate red stigma (the female part of the flower, which catches the pollen) of a small purple crocus with grass-like leaves and large, purple, lily-shaped flowers. The saffron crocus, a member of the lily family, generally flowers in the Autumn.
Saffron contains the potent antioxidants crocin, safranal, and picrocrocin, which can help delay age-related macular degeneration (loss of vision), help prevent hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Trials have also shown antidepressant activity in humans.
Ground half of the saffron in a small pestle and mortar. Adding a little coarse sea salt will make the grounding a little easier. Add 2 tbsp of boiling water and leave to steep for 5-10 minutes.
Put the chicken thighs in a bowl, season well. Add the saffron water, garlic, yoghurt, lime juice, onions, olive oil. Season and mix well. Marinate for at least two hours or overnight.
Put the potatoes in a saucepan and add just enough water to cover them, along with a good pinch of salt. Bring to the boil
and cook for I2-I5 minutes, until tender. Once the water comes to the boil, put the rest of saffron threads in a large bowl and add
I tbsp of the boiling water. Leave the saffron to steep.
While the potatoes are cooking, bring another pan of water to the boil. Add the podded beans to the pan and boil for 3 minutes. Drain and refresh in a bowl of cold water, then drain again. If the beans are large, you might want to double-pod them, but there's no need to do so if they’re small and the skins are tender.
Once the potatoes are cooked, drain and toss them in the saffron liquid. Leave to cool. Add the broad beans. Toss in the olive oil and parsley and add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Keep warm.
Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade. You can either cook on a hot griddle whole for about 10 minutes in each side until brown on each side and cooked. Rest the cooked chicken for a few minutes and slice. You can also cut each piece of the marinated chicken thighs into four pieces and put on 4 small skewers and cook under a very hot grill or on charcoal for around 20 minutes or until cooked and golden brown on each side.
Serve the cooked chicken separately or mix into the salad and serve.