Thursday, February 04, 2016

Plenty More salads

January 26, 2016

Our semi-regular Ottolenghi potluck club had its first meeting for 2016 on the January 26 public holiday. With warm weather forecast and a whole day to prepare food, I decided to whip up a couple of salads from Plenty More as our savoury contribution to the spread (the full feast is on display over on our facebook page). My first choice was pumpkin with chilli yoghurt and coriander sauce (pictured above), at least partly because it was pitched as the simplest recipe in the whole book. Given I was turning the oven on to cook the pumpkin, I stuck to the 'roast' section of the book and added the roasted cauliflower, grape and cheddar salad as dish #2.

The pumpkin dish was indeed easy - you roast up some cinnamon-coated pumpkin wedges, whiz together a herby sauce and stir some Sriracha into yoghurt and you're done. The results belie the relative simplicity of the recipe - the sweetness of the pumpkin perfectly complements the tangy yoghurt and the slightly salty coriander sauce.

The cauliflower salad also proved to be relatively simple (I'm pretty amazed that each of these recipes just have one fresh herb and leave it at that). Again, the pay-off easily exceeds the effort put in - roasting cauliflower really brings out its sweet nuttiness while adding some slightly smoky hints (if you get the charring level right). The remaining ingredients - grapes, cheddar, hazelnuts, raisins and parsley - are just about a perfect combination of flavours and textures. 

Making these two recipes in one hit is a relatively efficient way to get stuck into Plenty More - all the miscellaneous prep can be done while the pumpkin and cauliflower are roasting, so the whole process should take less than 90 minutes. We've already remade the pumpkin dish once, and I reckon both of these will slip into our semi-regular Ottolenghi rotation.

Pumpkin with chilli yoghurt & coriander sauce
(very slightly adapted from a recipe in Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty More)

1 large butternut pumpkin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
90ml olive oil
1 small bunch coriander
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
200g Greek yoghurt
1-2 tablespoons Sriracha chilli sauce
salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Halve the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Cut the pumpkin into thin wedges (about 2cm thick and 10cm long). Leave the skin on. Put all the wedges in a bowl and mix through the ground cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Lay the pumpkin wedges out on a baking tray (or two) with the skin down. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the pumpkin is cooked through and starting to brown up.

Combine the coriander (leave a few leaves aside for garnishing), garlic, the remaining olive oil and another pinch of salt in a small food processor and blitz to a smooth paste. 

When you've got about 10 minutes left on the pumpkin roasting, pop the pumpkin seeds in on another tray to roast. Keep a close eye on them and pull them out when they've just started to blister and crisp up.

Swirl together the yoghurt and the chilli sauce.

Allow everything to cool a bit. Lay the wedges on a platter and drizzle over with the yoghurt sauce and the herb paste and then scatter the pumpkin seeds and reserved coriander leaves on top.

Roasted cauliflower, grape & cheddar salad
(very slightly adapted from a recipe in Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty More)

1 head of cauliflower, broken into bite-sized florets
90ml olive oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and roughly crushed
100g crumbled cheddar cheese
100g red grapes, halved (and seeded if necessary)
1/2 bunch parsley, roughly chopped (about 3/4 cup)
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Toss the cauliflower with half the oil and some salt and pepper. Spread them out on a baking tray and roast for 25 minutes, stirring a couple of times. You want them to come out golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Whisk together the rest of the oil, the mustard, the vinegar, syrup and some salt. Add the raisins to the dressing and let them marinate for 10 minutes or so.

When you're ready to serve things up put the cauliflower in a large mixing  bowl, along with the hazelnuts, cheese, grapes and parsley and then pour over the raisins and the dressing. Toss everything together gently and serve. 

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