This is such a simple but delicious salad, it's perfect as a main dish salad but a smaller portion would make a fantastic starter if you have guests over. Recipe is based on one I saw in the Irish Food and Wine magazine and I couldn't resist making it as I love roasted squash and pecans. It's lightly spiced with warming cumin seed and ground ginger and slightly sweetened with some maple syrup. I made this after a long day shopping in Cork and it was one of those meals you just relaxed and savoured with a good glass of white wine and some lightly toasted slices of ciabatta. Perfect.... :-)
Warm Roasted Butternut Squash and Pecan Salad: serves 2 as a main
1 small butternut squash, about 300 - 350g before prepping
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cumin seed
12 whole pecans
juice of 1/4 of a lemon
Preheat oven to 180C. Slice the squash in half, slice off the top then scoop out the seeds. Slice each half into equal size wedges, I got 6 slices out of each half. In a bowl mix together 1 Tbsp of the olive oil, maple syrup, salt, cumin seeds, ginger and a couple grinds of black pepper. Toss the squash in this then scrape it all into a roasting tin and roast for 25 - 30 minutes or until tender. The original recipe also said to cook until lightly charred and the skins in their photo looked quite black. As you can see mine never got near to that but the flesh was perfectly cooked at that point so I took them out then. Add the pecans with 5 minutes remaining to heat them up.
Remove the squash and pecans to a large bowl. Deglaze the pan with the lemon juice and 1 Tbsp cold water. Pour roasting juices into a bowl then slowly whisk in the other 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Toss the rocket in this dressing with your hands until all leaves are coated then place on a plate. Top with the warm squash and pecans and serve immediately.
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