Butternut Squash

Perfect for a light autumnal lunch, we make this spectacular salad with soft, creamy Oddington goat’s cheese. It is a salad that plays on the contrast of colours and looks stunning layered up, rather than tumbled together. Pumpkin can also be used instead of squash.

Ingredients (serves 6 as a light lunch)
1 large butternut squash, peeled, halved and deseeded
150ml extra virgin olive oil
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
150g soft goat’s cheese, such as Oddington
15g pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted in a dry pan
1 small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

For the balsamic onions:
3 medium red onions
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon good balsamic vinegar
50g caster sugar

For the black olive purée:
100g pitted black Kalamata olives
1 tablespoon capers
1 clove of garlic
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the garlic & chilli dressing:
200g creme fraiche
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 a plump red chilli, deseeded and very finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C / gas 6.

To make the balsamic onions, peel the onions and cut each into 8 wedges, keeping the root end intact so the wedges don’t fall apart. Scatter over a shallow ovenproof dish and add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar and 3 tablespoons of water. Toss lightly together, then cover the dish with foil, put into the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for a further 5-10 minutes, or until the onions have softened and are lightly browned. Remove and leave to cool, but leave the oven on.

While the onions are baking, prepare the butternut squash. Cut the squash in half again, then cut into thick wedges (about 1.5cm). Heat a griddle pan, preferably (or otherwise the grill), and cook the squash for 1-2 minutes, turning once, until lightly charred on both sides. Transfer to a baking tray, brush generously with roughly a third of the olive oil and season. Put into the oven and cook for 10 minutes, then take out and turn the squash over. Brush with half the remaining oil and season generously. Return to the oven for a further 10 minutes, until softened and lightly browned, then remove and cool to room temperature.

To make the black olive purée, put all the ingredients into a blender and blitz to a coarse paste.

To make the dressing, put the creme fraiche into a bowl and stir in the garlic and chilli. Add enough cold water to make the dressing pourable (around 1-2 tablespoons) and season with a little ground black pepper.

To serve, arrange the butternut squash in a shallow serving dish in a single layer. Crumble the goat’s cheese into chunky pieces and scatter them over the top, then drizzle the dressing over. Top with the balsamic onions. Dot with the olive purée and sprinkle with the toasted pumpkin seeds and parsley. Finally drizzle with the remaining oil and serve.

This story is part of the Daylesford Organic thread. To read more about Daylesford Organic visit the Daylesford Organic website.