Thursday, June 28, 2012

Post Ibizian Pumpkin Salad

Thank god for holidays. We went to Ibiza last week. Not for raving, or sun-roasting or drug induced fun, but for a quiet retreat in the hills. And I have a lot to thank Ibiza for: my appetite is finally back! And not just things like fruit and vegetables. But prawns and ham and even coffee. Basically all the good things in life. Our first meal was at a ramshackle fish shack at the end of Talamanca beach. You are offered whatever are the catches of the day. The nice boss-man reels them off through his John Waters 'tache, prawns, sword fish, squid, etc etc. The fishes all come with the same get-up - cold boiled potatoes and a very dated iceberg lettuce related salad. On a warm evening this feels absolutely right. Especially the potatoes. I don't know what they do to them in Spain to make them taste so damned good and waxy and creamy at the same time. And all this while overlooking the beautiful baleric waters on one side, and a very funny nudist display on the other.

On return I have found myself (thankfully) a lot more inspired in the kitchen. I wouldn't wish this pregnancy malarky on anyone!  Today's salad at Rosie's was a corker, even if I do say so. The sweet floury roast pumpkin was nicely set off by a bunch of crisp peppery radishes. Bulked up with some spanish lentils and lots of fresh oregano and basil, I'm really rather chuffed with my spoils. Maybe it'll make it into a third book... you never know. Nearly all the ingredients came from The Nour Cash and Carry, my favourite shop in Brixton Market.

Here's the recipe in a fly by style.
Peel and deseed half a pumpkin. Dice and place on roasting trays. Drizzle with Olive oil and lots of sea salt and black pepper. Place in a very hot oven for about twenty minutes or until the pumpkin is soft but not mashy. Meanwhile, wash and chop the radishes. Drain and rinse a jar of spanish jarred lentils (mine were from Brindisa's collection, for which we stock in the deli). Combine these in a big salad bowl. Finely chop a good handful of fresh oregano and fresh sweet basil and add these too. Pour over lots of extra virgin olive oil and a generous amount of red wine vinegar (remembering that the lentils will always dilute the salt and vinegar so you can be generous). When the pumpkin is room temperature, fold into the salad. Finally grate over some mature pecorino and serve with some dressed spinach leaves.