Thursday, 29 March 2012

Salad Days - a warm spring salad

Today's lunch. Well, with the sun finally putting his hat on I thought it was time to crack out the salad. Not in their true sense, but a variation thereof. So here we have a warm salad. After all, there's still a nip in the air, and whilst this sates my need for something healthy (I use the term loosely) it does still have strong flavours and a sense - from the oil in the dressing of being luxurious. 

This was one of those recipes that came to me whilst looking in the fridge, and just putting things together in my head. In terms of a recipe it's more of a loose approximation of what needed using up and would go relatively well together. Despite having a surfeit of parsnips and carrots, they didn't make their way in as I didn't fell they fitted with the other veg. 

Warm Spring Salad

1 bulb fennel sliced so it's still relatively chunky
2 courgettes, cubed
1 yellow pepper, cubed
1 orange pepper, cubed (by the way, Sainsbury's Basics peppers are brilliant, and much much cheaper than their regular ones)
1 leek sliced finely
1/2 a chorizo sausage, skinned and cubed
1 bulb garlic, smashed
Drizzle of olive oil
Dried thyme, sprinkled (probably about a teaspoon)
2 bay leaves
2 glasses white wine/ veg stock
Salt and Pepper
Balsamic vinegar
Rocket or watercress to serve

Aubergine, celery, cherry tomatoes would all be good additions, it's just I didn't have them.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees
Chop your vegetables so that they're roughly the same size and put them in a roasting tin. Try to keep them in one layer so that they cook relatively evenly
Add the chorizo, garlic cloves, herbs and salt and pepper
Drizzle with some olive oil and pour the white wine/ veg stock (about half a pint/ 2 wine glasses of either) over the veg
Cook in the preheated oven for about half an hour. Or until the veg is soft and starting to caramelise on the edges
Take out of the oven and leave to cool for about 10 minutes (so it's nice and warm but neither hot nor cold)
Serve in a bowl with lots of rocket or watercress (the pepperiness cuts through the dressing)
Pour off a little of the oil and cooked down wine into a jam jar, add some balsamic vinegar (sherry or white wine vinegar would be fine I imagine) put the lid on and give a good shake. Pour this over your warm salad and either toss through or if you're lazy like me, do some work while it sits on the side. 
Serve with some crusty bread, it's an idea working from home lunch in that it feels a bit more decadent than sandwiches or soup, but as it's basically a fridge bottom recipe is cheap and uses up veg that might be slightly past it's best. 


I would use the veg base for this as the basis of a sausage bake and serve with baked potatoes for an evening meal. It would be lovely, and you could spoon off some of the oils, and make a kind of gravy with any burnt bits of veg on the bottom of the pan. Lovely. 

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