Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Boys' salad

I woke up early today and couldn't wait to get up.  Some mornings are just like that, aren't they?  It makes for a good start to the day.  The dog was very excited to see me so early (but then, he is always excited) -  we snuggled up together, drinking coffee (me) and planning the day ahead (possibly both of us).  Those early hours of the morning are my favourite time of the day - it's peaceful and quiet with just the birds singing outside.  Beautiful! 

It didn't take long for my thoughts to steer towards food.  Earlier in the week I had already bought the ingredients for a salad recipe I came across whilst we were away.  Now, to be honest, the thought of chowing my way through a plate of limp lettuce and cucumber is not exactly my idea of a great meal but luckily this recipe is far, far removed from that.  Think roasted squash, spicy chorizo, yummy beans,...delicious!

I call it a boys' salad - it's big and satisfying, full of flavours and textures and would even fill up the hungriest of males.  I made it for my lunch today and LOVED it - it certainly didn't leave me feeling hungry and really delivered on taste :-)  If you prefer to make it vegetarian simply leave out the chorizo - it'll still be lovely.  Luckily, I made enough to have another portion later in the week and as an added bonus I roasted a further batch of just squash at the same time which made good use of the already hot oven. 

I can now honestly say that I just had a salad for lunch :-)
Roasted Squash & Chorizo salad (serves 4 - 6)

1 small butternut or onion squash, deseeded and cut roughly into bite-size pieces (no need to peel the squash)
1 dried chilli, chopped (or use chilli flakes or fresh chilli)
a small handful of oregano or marjoram, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
sea salt and black pepper
2 red onions, roughly sliced
a small punnet of cherry tomatoes
a small bunch of coriander (chilantro), leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
150 - 200g chorizo, cut into rounds
150g cooked borlotti or pinto beans (tinned & drained is fine)
a small bag of baby spinach
100g Pecorino or parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F.
  2. Put the squash, chilli, chorizo and oregano in a roasting dish and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 15 minutes before adding the onion slices and cherry tomatoes.  If you don't use the chorizo sausage, add a good swig of vegetable or olive oil to coat everything - using the sausage, you won't need to do that.
  3. Roast everything for 30 - 40 minutes or until the squash is cooked.
  4. Meanwhile, pound the coriander/chilantro leaves in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt until you have a green paste (if you don't have a pestle & mortar, simply use a sharp knife on a chopping board). put in a bowl, cover with the extra virgin olive oil and set aside to infuse.
  5. Gently mix the roasted vegetables and beans together in a large bowl with a tablespoon of the coriander oil .
  6. Put some spinach leaves onto plates and divide the roasted ingredients equally. With a potato peeler, shave the cheese on top and drizzle each salad serving with the coriander oil.
 (recipe taken from "Mexican Food Made Simple" TV show by Thomasina Miers)

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