Pumpkin Perfection with the freshness of Fetta and a little Spring Lamb
The last of the Blog birthday week posts, and ending with something healthy. I know, not more cake? Well, as I type, it is World Champagne Day, and I have a bottle of French Champagne chilling, some Thai Chicken Meatballs already made, some creamy brie purchased and some home made quince paste ready for a little gathering later. Better for my hips that we skip cake today! And in this post you are getting a “meal deal” – a suggestion for what I would pair the Roast Pumpkin Salad with. No substitute for cake really, but still.
Birthdays always seem to be a time for reflection, even for a blog. I really had to think about what I was doing and whether to keep going. I had not reached some of the goals that I had set myself, had got sidetracked by paying work, and felt a little despondent about the lack of feedback. So it came down to some basic things. I love to write. I love to create. I like to share. Could I do all these things without spending money on the blog? Yes. Could I find another way to organise my recipes? Yes. Would anyone notice if it all disappeared? Well, yes; Sandra would notice! Whilst I was doing all the reflecting and pondering, My Edible Archive renewed itself for another year – procrastination to the rescue again! So I am here for another year – just.
Enough talk, get to the salad! I love this salad! Roasting the pumpkin brings out a sweetness that is offset by the spice, the creamy saltiness of the fetta, the contrast of the onions. Freshness in a bowl! This is almost a meal in itself, and would certainly be wonderful as a lunch-time salad, perhaps with the addition of some chickpeas for protein. This salad came from a Bill Granger recipe, from a book gifted to me by Sandra. We love a Bill recipe in this house, particularly Mr L who discovered Bill’s restaurant in Waikiki – an oasis of fresh fine dining in a desert of fast pre-fab food.
Start by preheating the oven to 200°C. Peel and chop your pumpkin (I used a Kent, but Jap would work well too) – cut into cubes around 2-3 cm; no need to be too exact. Toss the pumpkin in some olive oil and cumin, add some salt and pepper, and roast for 30 minutes, until tender and slightly caramelized.
How yummy does that look? Confession – several pieces of pumpkin had to be taste-tested. Quality purposes only! Set aside to cool completely. Roasting can be done before hand and the salad made up just before serving, making this a great entertaining recipe.
Place the finely sliced red onion in a shallow bowl and cover with the vinegar. Allow to soak for at least 10 minutes – this will take the “bite” out of the raw onion and pickle it slightly.
Arrange the spinach in a large flat bowl or platter. Scatter with pumpkin, olives and fetta. (I used Dodani Fetta, but Danish works well too. Use one of these softer, saltier fettas) Drain the onion, reserving the vinegar for the dressing. Combine vinegar with olive oil, and drizzle over salad. Toss gently.
I serve this salad with lamb, so decided to add in my lamb cutlet/chop marinade, so you can put your mind in neutral and the meal planning is done for you!
In a ceramic bowl, combine 4 tbs olive oil with 2 tbs balsamic vinegar, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, and a tablespoon of chopped rosemary.
Add in lamb cutlets and turn to coat thoroughly.
Pop in the fridge for up to an hour – if you don’t have that long, give it as long as you can. Heat up the barbecue (or frypan) and cook for a couple of minutes per side, then rest for an equal amount of time. Serve with the Roasted Pumpkin Salad, some potatoes roasted with rosemary (especially if you have a family member like TM who has an aversion to salad) and some tzatiki on the side.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the past year. Where would I have been without your technical help Brigid? I look back now and laugh to think about how little I knew! Thanks to all the subscribers – feedback and suggestions always welcome! Please comment, share and help me to grow over the coming year. Enjoy!
- 700-800g pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2 cm cubes
- salt and pepper
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 150g baby spinach leaves
- 100g fetta, crumbled (use Dodani or Danish)
- ½ cup pitted kalamata olives
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tbs red or white wine vinegar
- 3 tbs olive oil (extra)
- Preheat oven to 200°C. Toss pumpkin in olive and sprinkle with cumin salt and pepper.
- Roast for 30 minutes until just tender and caramelized slightly - cool
- Place thinly sliced onion in a shallow bowl and cover with vinegar - allow to stand for 10 minutes.
- Arrange spinach leaves in a shallow bowl or on platter and scatter with pumpkin, fetta and olives.
- Drain onion and add to salad, reserving vinegar for dressing. Combine oil and vinegar, drizzle over salad and gently toss to combine