We love salads so much that we cannot get enough of them. That’s why we invented the Salad Festival. Three salads in one lunch. Delicious!
1.Butternut Squash With Pecans and Blue Cheese
Ingredients (Serves 6-8)
2 kilograms butternut squash
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 stalks fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
100 grams pecan nuts
125 grams crumbled roquefort cheese (or other blue cheese)
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7/425ºF.
Halve the squash, leaving the skin on, and scoop out the seeds, then cut into 2.5cm / 1 inch cubes; you don’t need to be precise, just keep the pieces uniformly small.
Put the squash into a roasting tin with the oil. Strip the leaves from 4 stalks of thyme, and sprinkle over the butternut squash. (If you can’t get fresh thyme, use dried.) Roast in the oven for about 30-45 minutes or until tender.
Once out of the oven, remove the squash to a bowl and scatter the pecans and crumble the cheese over it, then toss everything together gently.
Check seasoning and add the last of the thyme, torn into small sprigs to decorate.
2. Chicken, Mango and Chilli Salad
Ingredients (Serves 2-3)
1 mango (cut into approx. 1cm cubes)
1 spring onion (finely chopped)
1 – 2 red chillies (or to taste) deseeded and finely chopped
juice of 2 limes (to taste)
1 cold cooked chicken breast (cut into chunks)
1 little gem lettuce (sliced or shredded)
1 large handful fresh coriander (chopped)
1 teaspoon groundnut oil
4 drops toasted sesame oil
Tumble the mango cubes, and any juice they make, into a bowl and, with your hands, mix in the chopped spring onion and chilli and squeeze over the lime juice: use as much or as little as you want; frankly, the amount of juice you can get from a lime varies enormously from one to another.
I tend to leave all these to steep while I get on with the rest of my shredding and chopping, but whatever way you do it, tumble in the chunked chicken and shredded lettuce and most of the fresh coriander and, using your hands, toss to combine. Add the oils and toss again then decant on to a large serving plate and sprinkle over the remaining bit of fresh coriander.
3. Red-Leaf, Fig and Serrano Ham Salad
Ingredients (Serves 8)
1 radicchio (or treviso)
200 grams baby ruby chard (or 2 bags salad with red toned tender leaves)
2 teaspoons sherry wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pinch of salt
8 fresh figs (quartered)
275 grams serrano ham (cut very thinly)
50 grams manchego cheese
Tear the head of treviso or radicchio into manageable pieces, and toss together with the baby salad leaves.
Whisk together the vinegar, oil and salt in a small bowl and then dress the leaves.
Arrange the figs and ham with as much artistry as you can muster over the salad and then, with a potato peeler, shave the cheese over, letting it fall lightly where it will.