Realistically, it doesn't even require a recipe; all you need is day-old roast pumpkin, seasonal greens and some nuts for texture: almonds or pinenuts work well. And because you make the pumpkin the night before (cook extra pumpkin and enjoy a roast whilst you're at it), it requires minimal fuss the next morning. I've made variations of this salad several times, and it's perfect for picnics, dinner parties and pot luck get-togethers. It is easily transportable bagged or boxed in its separate components, requiring minimal plating effort with maximum gourmet effect.
Roasted pumpkin salad
The night before: Peel your pumpkin (Jap is sweetest and caramelises well) and cut into even-sized chunks. Place pumpkin into a plastic bag, pour in a good glug of olive oil and move about until the pieces are evenly coated. Roast your pumpkin in a single layer on a tray at 180C until cooked and caramelised to your satisfaction. When cool, transfer to a covered container and place in fridge overnight.
On the day: Trim and halve asparagus spears and de-string sugar snap peas. Blanch vegetables in a pot of rapidly boiling salted water (remember to cook the asparagus bottoms longer than the tops). Remove vegetables and plunge into a bowl of iced water so they remain green and crunchy.
Plate the salad by combining blanched vegetables with pumpkin, tendrils of washed wild rocket, a tin of chick peas and a generous scattering of toasted almond slivers. Drizzle the pumpkin juices over the salad and season with salt and pepper. Add an extra drizzle of olive oil if you prefer.
Variations: In the past I've also added baby spinach leaves, blanched green beans, slivers of red onion, toasted almond flakes, toasted pine nuts and crumbled goats cheese with tasty success. You could add sultanas and apricots to make it Moroccan, or slices of rare roast lamb with fetta to make it Greek.
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9/13/2006 11:20:00 pm