Pressed chicken thigh, peppers, asparagus, lemon gel

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Preparation info

  • Serves


    Main Course Portions
    • Difficulty


Appears in

Mile 8: A book about cooking

Mile 8

By David Higgs

Published 2018

  • About
Rust en Vrede

When Adriaan joined the team at Rust en Vrede he had just returned from working in England and was full of weird and wonderful ideas. He had been working for Claude Bosi and was a real inspiration for all of us in the kitchen. For me, the best way to cook chicken thighs is to open them up and cook them on the open fire. So tasty, but they don’t present that well, unfortunately.


Chicken thighs

  • 1 kg chicken thighs – skin on, deboned weight
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 lemons – the zest
  • 80 ml olive oil
  • ice bath – to chill

Grilled peppers

  • 4 red bell peppers
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • Maldon sea salt flakes
  • lemon zest – for sprinkling


  • 24 baby asparagus
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • Maldon sea salt flakes


  • 8 stems broccolini
  • salted boiling water
  • ice bath – to refresh
  • salt and pepper
  • 40 gnocchi dumplings – 5 per serving
  • 56 dots lemon gel – 7 per serving
  • 240 ml beef jus – 30ml per serving


Season the thighs with salt and pepper. Press two thighs against each other – meat sides touching. Sprinkle lemon zest over the chicken. Place into a vacuum bag and add 10 ml olive oil for each thigh. Vacuum seal and sous vide at 68°C for 45 minutes. Chill in an ice bath once the chicken is cooked. Reheat as needed in the bag, then remove from the bag and finish on the grill for colour and flavour. Slice to 120 g portions (or desired size).

Brush the peppers with olive oil and grill whole until the flesh is soft and blistered. Remove from the grill and place in a bowl to cover with cling film to steam the peppers and make it easy to remove the skins. Once steamed, remove the outer skin. Cut the peppers lengthways and remove the seeds. Grill again gently on both sides and finish with sea salt flakes and lemon zest. Slice the peppers into 4 long pieces per serving.

Trim the bases of the asparagus and peel if stalky, then drizzle with olive oil. Grill until tender and season with sea salt flakes. Remove from the grill and slice each into 3 pieces.

Blanch the broccolini in salted water for 3 minutes. Remove and refresh in an ice bath. After refreshing, grill to crisp tender. Shred the tips of the broccolini to use for sprinkling. As needed, put onto the hot coals or under a grill to give some colour. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

To assemble, place a 120 g thigh slice on each plate. Arrange 5 gnocchi dumplings, 1 stem broccolini, 3 baby asparagus and 30 g red peppers as desired. Dot the plate with 7 small dots of lemon gel, and finish with 30 ml jus.