Warm salad of sprouting broccoli, onion squash and chilli and hazelnut sauce
Sunday 25 January 2009
I like salads all year round – I think it is something to do with being brought up in Sydney, where the weather is warmer and eating salad is a way of life. More substantial salads tend to work better at this time of year in this country; very often the taste of food is more profound when served not too hot.
1 onion squash, sliced in half, seeds scooped out, but skin left on (if onion squash is hard to find, substitute butternut squash; the skin will need to be removed, but otherwise treat it in exactly the same way)
1 dried chilli, crumbled
4 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 red onion, outer skin removed and sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 bunch of sprouting broccoli, washed, patted dry and sliced into six long slices, which should include the stems and outer leaves
For the dressing
100g/31/2oz whole hazelnuts
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp red-wine vinegar
120ml/4fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
First make the dressing: preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4, lay the hazelnuts on a tray and place on the middle shelf of the oven for five minutes to tickle out their flavour and colour them slightly. Place the anchovies and mustard into a mortar and pound with a pestle until you have a rough paste. Add the hazelnuts and vinegar and pound once more. Pour in the oil and stir well to combine. Taste and season with a little salt and pepper if needed.
Now turn up the oven to 200C/400F/ Gas6. Lay the slices of squash in a baking tray, crumble over the chilli, pour over two tablespoons of the oil and season with the salt and pepper. Cover with foil. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, uncovering for the last 10; the squash should be tender but not falling apart. Remove from the oven and set aside.
While the squash is cooking, place the onion rounds in a smaller baking tray and add the balsamic and remaining olive oil. Season with a little salt and pepper, cover with foil and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, then, as with the squash, uncover and cook for a further 10 minutes; the onions should be a deep purple in colour and glossy.
Place a large pot of well-salted water on to boil, prepare the broccoli and, when the water is boiling, plunge it in and cook for 2-3 minutes; drain but do not refresh.
Arrange the warm vegetables on a plate, spoon over the dressing and serve.
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