This tasty salad was inspired by a Salade Gourmande from the French Alps, that features fois gras and duck gizzards among other things, enrobed in a nutty dressing. Among the plethora of leaves, you can find small jewels of tasty meats, which makes the eating something of a journey of discovery.
I wanted to use less meat and more veg, especially seasonal, local veg, whist maintaining that element of surprise. I also wanted to incorporate as many immune-boosting foods as possible. That’s foods rich in vitamins A, B, C and E; zinc; selenium and anti-oxidents.
The result? A super-tasty salad that celebrates our superb venison bresaola and contains all the key immune-boosting foods.
Ingredients (for 4 people)
1 butternut squash (packed with vitamin A)
1 small celeriac or half a medium/large one (lots of vitamin B6 and C)
Extra virgin olive oil (vitamin E)
1 pack of Sussex Gourmand’s wild venison bresaola (rich in zinc and B vitamins) – two if you’re making this a main course
200g baby spinach leaves (vitamins A, B and C)
1 jar of Sussex Gourmand’s sage and cashew nut pesto (vitamins A, E, zinc and selenium)
100ml white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove of garlic (rich in anti-oxidents)
400ml hazelnut oil or walnut oil ( a good source of selenium)
- Peel the butternut squash and cut it in half. Scoop out all the stringy flesh and set aside. Cut the squash into pieces no bigger than 1.5cm square and put in a roasting tin, then drizzle around 2 tbsp olive oil over it, season with salt and pepper, mix it all up so the squash is evenly coated with oil and bake in the oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes, then turn over the pieces with a spatula and bake for a further 20 minutes, or until all pieces are well browned and crispy on the outside.
- Peel the celeriac, cut it in half lengthways and slice thinly, then put in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, mix it all up so the celeriac is evenly coated with oil and set on a baking tray with space between each slice. Bake in the oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn over the pieces with a spatula or fish slice and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until light brown and crispy.
- While the squash and celeriac is baking, go through the squash flesh and pick out the seeds. Drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil over them, season with salt and pepper and pan fry for a couple of minutes, then spread out on a baking sheet and add to the oven for about 8 minutes.
- The final bit of preparation is to make your dressing. Using a jam jar or a mug, first add the white balsamic vinegar, then the mustard, your crushed garlic clove, some salt and pepper and finally the nut oil. Put the lid on the jar and shake until everything has mixed together well.
- To compile the salad, mix together the washed spinach with the salad dressing and create piles on four plates. Dot the jewels of butternut squash around the salad and plate, then carefully spoon over the pesto. Sprinkle over the celeriac crisps and then place an equal number of venison slices on the top of each salad pile. Top with the roasted squash seeds.