The idea of a dressing is to enhance the flavour of the food you are eating. The acid from the vinegar contrasts with the sugar, salt and oil to heighten the pleasure we get. Dressing hot, cooked vegetables is just as gratifying as dressing cold salad leaves, almost more so. In this salad, I've combined the sweet, nutty flavour of butternut squash, with sweet, buttery pecan nuts and salty, sharp feta cheese. The maple syrup dressing works really well at bringing the whole dish together and this recipe could easily make a lovely mid-week supper in it's own right.
1 x Large Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into 2inch chunks
100g Pecan Nuts, broken into small pieces
100g Feta Cheese, broken into 1cm pieces
1 x Red Chilli, finely diced (I always leave the seeds in)
150g Baby Spinach Leaves, washed
Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil
Salt & Pepper
For the dressing
2 x Cloves of Garlic, crushed
2tbsp Sherry Vinegar
1tbsp White Wine Vinegar
2tbsp Maple Syrup
5tbsp Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil
1tsp Sea Salt
1. Pre-heat your oven to 220°C
2. Peel and dice your butternut, place in a roasting tray and drizzle with rapeseed oil. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Roast in the oven for around 30 minutes, until the squash is tender. It's nice when it develops a little charring around the edges.
4. To make the dressing; in a bowl, crush the garlic, add in the salt, vinegars and maple syrup and slowly whisk in the oil. Keep tasting the dressing as you make it, a good dressing should be slightly salty with a nice sharp kick.
5. Once the squash has cooked, pour over the dressing, add in the spinach leaves, red chilli, feta and pecan nuts and gently mix.
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