Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Squash and seeds

I love the colours of this warm salad, so beautiful and golden, and how it adds a warming splash of sunshine to the table (and don't we need it - it's been snowing again in London!).

Roasting butternut squash intensifies the sweetness of the flesh so it's nice to have a little charring around the edges to add a grown-up dose of bitterness. The seeds are good for a bit of contrasting crunch, and gussy up the dish with little flecks of green pumpkin and creamy white sesame seeds.

Warm salad of squash, rocket and toasted seeds

2 medium butternut squash
4 tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp white sesame seeds
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
50g rocket leaves
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp olive oil
1½ tbsp balsamic vinegar

1) Spread the seeds evenly onto a shallow tray and bake for 5 minutes at 400f/200/gas mark 6. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don't burn!

2) Now peel the squash and cut into roughly one inch chunks, toss in the sunflower oil, season lightly with salt and pepper, and bake at 450f/230c/gas mark 8 for 30 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a skewer and a little singed at the edges.

3) Mix the squash, seeds and rocket together in a large bowl, then whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, pour over, and toss. Serve warm, perhaps on the side of some bangers and mash or as a side to a slice of quiche.

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