It's no secret that I'm a big fan of salads. They are so easy to make, and you can create all sorts of flavour and texture combinations. And to top it all, they are healthy and good for you too. So here is one that I made recently, as a comforting treat after a busy week.
½ butternut squash
a small bunch of fresh lemon thyme
2 cloves of garlic
125g baby button mushrooms
¼ iceberg lettuce
¼ red pointed pepper
100g umbrian lentils
100ml dry white wine
freshly ground black pepper
freshly ground sea salt
Preheat the oven to 180oC.
While the oven gets warm, peel the butternut squash, slice and chop it into small squares. Wash the carrots and slice them into 2cm pieces. Place both butternut squash and carrots in a baking tray, drizzle with oil and use scissors to chop a bit of lemon thyme over them. Turn to make sure the oil is evenly covered, and place in the oven for 1 hour or so until the pieces are soft.
Place the lentils in a saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Boil for 25 minutes or until soft. Drain.
Peel and finely chop the shallots and garlic, and sauté in a pan with oil. Add freshly ground pepper and salt to taste. Chop some lemon thyme over it to taste. When the onions are soft, add the white wine, and leave to reduce. Any wine is ok, but I find a dry or at least medium works better as they add more of an edge to the taste. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer, and add the lentils.
Chop the lettuce and spread out on two plates. Finely slice the red pepper lengthways and spread over the lettuce. Use a julienne slicer and make the courgette into fine strips (if you don’t have a julienne slicer just finely slice it lengthways). Add the courgette to the plates.
Spoon the baked vegetables over the salad, and add the onion and mushroom mix to the top. Sprinkle a few drops of oil over the salad, and serve while it’s warm.