¼ cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons sumac
6 large cloves garlic, grated or crushed
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Maldon sea salt
5 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh thyme
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
⅔ cup fregola
olive oil
2 small bulbs Florence fennel, shaved
2 green chillies, finely sliced (optional)
1 bunch spring onions, finely sliced
1 loose cup (about 80g) fresh dill, roughly chopped
zest of 1 lemon
100g feta, crumbled
1 iceberg lettuce
lemon wedges, to serve

Fregola is often compared to Israeli couscous and although it is not a grain it does fall somewhere in between a grain and a pasta. Like any grain or pasta, the worst thing you can do is overcook it. You can find fregola at speciality shops such as Sabato; it can be cooked like a risotto, simmered in stock, or boiled, drained and chilled and dressed like a salad, similar to orzo.

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2.To make the marinade, mix together all the ingredients except the chicken.
3.Add the chicken, cover and marinate overnight or for at least 3 hours.
4.When ready to cook, heat a barbecue to a high heat.
5.Sear the chicken thighs on one side until nicely charred (about 5-7 minutes), turn over and barbecue for a further 5 minutes until cooked.
6.Plate chicken thighs with lemon wedges. Serve immediately.
8.Cook the fregola as per the packet instructions, ensuring that it is al dente once cooked.
9.Drain and rinse with cold water until cold.
10.Transfer to a bowl and dress with a little olive oil to prevent it sticking.
11.Add the fennel, chillies, spring onions, dill, lemon zest and feta, and season with Maldon sea salt and black pepper.
12.To prepare the lettuce cups, remove any damaged leaves from the outside of the lettuce.
13.To remove the core of the lettuce, hold the lettuce in both hands with the core facing down, then hit it hard on the bench – the core will then detach easily.
14.Hold the lettuce upside down under cold running water to help separate the leaves. Shake well to remove excess water.
15. If needed, trim the lettuce leaves with scissors to form cups.
16.Put in a bowl, cover and chill while you barbecue the chicken.
17.Dress the fregola salad with olive oil and gently toss everything until well combined and evenly distributed.
18.Fill the lettuce cups with fregola salad and put the filled cups on a large serving platter.

Recipes & food styling Marc Weir / Photography Amber-Jayne Bain