25 October 2009

Jamie's Kitchen

I love Jamie Oliver. I started watching him in his "Naked" days and still really love him. I think part of it is because he is not the least bit fussy. He takes fresh ingredients, tosses them together and creates great food.
It may not be the most innovative food, but it is food you really want to eat. I can honestly say I have never seen him shout profanities at anyone and I love the way he tosses and smashes and adjusts his ingredients.

Take this salad, for instance. I hearken back to blog favorite, Ethelind Fearon and her Reluctant Cook take on salad, "Salad can be anything." As the weather is turning cold, I am constantly thinking about winter squash and pumpkins and sweet potatoes. This salad offers up the best of those ingredients. Think like Jamie, use Parma ham or deli ham or sliced turkey -- use sweet potatoes or pumpkin -- use cheddar! Remember, salad is anything!

Warm Salad of Roasted Squash, Prosciutto and Pecorino

1 butternut squash
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small dried red chilli
1 heaped teaspoon coriander seeds
20 slices of prosciutto or Parma ham
4 handfuls of rocket
6 tablespoons extra virgin
olive oil
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 small block of Pecorino or Parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5. Carefully cut your butternut squash in half, keeping the seeds intact. Remove the two ends and discard them. Cut each half into quarters and lay in a roasting tray. Rub with a little olive oil. In a pestle and mortar pound up a flat teaspoon each of salt, pepper and your chilli and coriander seeds. Scatter this over the squash. Roast the squash for half an hour or until soft and golden. Allow to cool a little.

Lay your prosciutto on 4 plates — let it hang over the rim of the plates and encourage it to twist and turn so it doesn’t look neat and flat. Tear up your warm squash and put it in and around the ham. Sprinkle over the seeds and the rocket. Drizzle over the olive oil and balsamic, add a tiny pinch of salt and pepper, and use a vegetable peeler to shave over the Pecorino.

Serve it with a little mulled wine and broken chocolate for dessert!

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