We had a family affair the other night. My sister-in-law turned thirty-two and she has a thing for vegetables. What more could I do than hit the drawing board to brainstorm salad ideas? I had an inkling that I'd find some inspiration from one of my many cookbooks, and it was about time I searched through our enormous chest in the living room where I keep them all. Along with dust and cobwebs, I found Annabelle Langbein, Neil Perry, Jamie Oliver (granted), Green Kitchen Stories, and even Gordon Ramsay. But the magic started when I stumbled upon Nopi...
Nopi is a restaurant located in Soho, London. It is the brainchild of Yotam Ottolenghi (the brilliance behind London's best casual dining experience, Ottolenghi) and his mate Scullly. My husband's family shouted us a birthday dinner there last year, and although they weren't there to join us, that didn't stop us sending a few pics of their incredible creations back to New Zealand.
For this particular evening, with birthday celebrations in the making, I was tempted by a butternut, tomato, and coriander salad featured in a photograph in their cookbook (not all of their creations are photographed). As always, I made a few changes here and there for the sake of ease, ingredient availability, and preference. The recipe below is a combination of Yotam, Scully, and my own amateur creativity. It got the thumbs up from the table, so I assume it was a winner. We enjoyed this with my BBQ Pulled Pork and a subtle red and white cabbage slaw.
Tomato, Ginger & Butternut Salad
Serves 6 - 8 people
2 small butternuts, pealed, halved horizontally, cut in 2cm wedges
4 tomatoes, quartered
3cm ginger, pealed, minced
3 large garlic cloves, pealed, minced
1/2 tsp cilli flakes
1/2 tsp raw honey
1/3 cup greek unsweetened yoghurt
1/2 lemon, juice and zest
handful baby spinach
small handful coriander leaves
1/3 cup cashews
- Heat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Place the prepared butternut pieces on an oven tray, toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and evenly spread across the tray. Place in the oven for 30 - 35 minutes. Turn the oven up to 200 degrees and allow to cook for a final 10 - 20 minutes, until lightly golden, but not too soft. Set aside.
- Turn the oven back down to 180 degrees. Place the tomatoes on a separate oven tray, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the marinade for the tomatoes. In a small bowl, mix together the ginger, garlic, chilli flakes, honey, and 1 tsp of olive oil. When the tomatoes have been cooking for 30 minutes, remove from the oven and brush the tomatoes with the marinade. Return to the oven and allow to cook for a further 10 - 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft. When the tomatoes are done, I toss them around in the tray to help spread the marinade around with the left-over olive oil.
- Roast the cashews on a tray in the oven for 5 - 8 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool and then chop roughly.
- To prepare the yoghurt dressing, simply mix together the yoghurt, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl.
- To plate the salad I suggest randomly placing the butternut and spinach leaves on the bottom of a large platter. Top with the tomato, allowing some pieces of butternut to cover some of the tomato. Scatter over the coriander leaves, cashew nuts, and then dollop with the yogurt until all the ingredients are on the platter. Enjoy!
Feed, nourish, value yourself.