The previous days and weeks have been nothing but sinful. I've been eating out and snacking far too much and the guilt has finally caught up with me. I always hated on my home for it's awful lighting or lack of light but I never thought that I could actually make use that darkness to achieve low key photography until today. It was pouring like mad outside, my home was chilly and gloomy, and peaking through the curtains was a ray of cloudy afternoon light and then that beautiful moody atmosphere occurred to me and I just had to photograph it.
This would have been a perfect winter salad. But we're all not so fortunate to be able to experience that here in this tropical island. Cold, rainy and chilly was a good enough reason for me to make this rocket salad of roasted butternut squash, corn and potatoes.
I love potatoes. Any form of it. Heck, I love carbs. I know, it's terrible but I probably could not have one meal without it in it. That's probably why most of my salads can be actual meals because every time, there'll be a form of carbohydrate in it. What I did with these potatoes was quarter them, tossed them in some good extra virgin olive oil, salt, cracked black pepper, thyme, rosemary and bashed up cloves of garlic and roasted them in a 220C oven. The smell coming through those oven doors was amazing. I always loved the idea of a warm salad. The leaves and vegetables are cool and fresh and then mixed with the warm components of the dish is just comforting for me. I guess you can say I'm the sort of person who prefers my savoury food warm rather than entirely cold. Unless it's gazpacho in summer.... I can't say no to a good gazpacho.
Another thing I can't have without in my salads is texture, a little sweetness, and cheese. I loved loved loved the addition of the pomegranate seeds to this warm winter salad. It added a refreshing burst of flavour and sweetness to this rather heavy and carbo-loaded dish and feta is just the finishing touch to everything and anything. I think we can all agree that feta makes everything so much more delicious!? Uh, Y-uuuuuuuuhm.
Tossed in a beautiful mustard-shallot and champagne vinegar dressing, this salad is such comfort and quite a win. Next time you're stuck at home on a rainy day, have a go at this. You might just end up finishing it all even though it's meant to be shared amongst 2-3 people. It's that good.
Rainy Day Rocket Salad of Roasted Squash, Corn, Potatoes and Feta
(adapted from a year in food)
rocket leaves - 4 handfuls
baby potatoes (quartered) - 6 no.
butternut squash (sliced) - a quarter of one whole squash
sweet corn - 1 no.
thyme - 3 small sprigs
rosemary (roughly chopped) - 1 tablespoon
garlic cloves (smashed) - 3 no.
greek feta cheese (crumbled) - 3/4 block
pomegranate seeds - 1/4 no.
good extra virgin olive oil
For the dressing:
shallots (finely chopped) - 2 tablespoons
lemon juice - 1.5 tablespoons
champagne vinegar - 1 tablespoon
balsamic vinegar - 4 squirts through a spray bottle
dry dijon mustard - 1 teaspoon
honey - 1 teaspoon
good extra virgin olive oil - 3 generous glugs
salt to taste
few cracks of black pepper
Slice potatoes lengthwise in halves or quarters depending on their size. Drizzle enough olive olive to coat and sprinkle the herbs, salt and pepper over the potatoes. Add in the smashed garlic cloves. Toss to coat and lay on a baking tray. Roast until tender and browned, about 20 minutes.
While your potatoes are roasting, slice your squash and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Slice the corn off the cob and set aside separately. Remove the tray from the oven and push the potatoes to one corner of the tray. Lay the seasoned squash on it, add the corn as well and bake until all is tender and lightly browned. About 7-10 minutes. Leave to cool slightly.
Prepare your dressing by combining all the ingredients into a small glass jar. Pop the lid on and shake vigorously till well mixed and emulsified. Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
In a large salad bowl, combine the squash, potatoes and corn. Drizzle with about half the vinaigrette. Toss to combine. Add the arugula, half the pomegranate seeds and half of the cheese. Gently toss. Add more vinaigrette if needed.
Top with the remaining cheese and pomegranate seeds. Serve warm instantly.