Autumn is my favourite time of year – just as the trees are turning and shedding their leaves. November is the time for homely comfort food, to line your stomach ready for the winter ahead – of which I have been having a little too much recently!
November also brings a bountiful harvest from the garden. Using up the vegetables from summer which have survived the frost always has me wracking my brains for new recipe ideas.
I’ve never taken to salads. For me, lettuce is usually an afterthought used to trick my mind into believing the big T.Bone I’m chomping on is, in fact, good for me. For this reason I’ve shied away from ‘cooking’ with members of the Asteraceae (lettuce) family.
However, recently I have had something of an epiphany. The food at L’Enclume has had a profound effect on me. I no longer choose the richest, most decadent dish on the menu. Now I opt for lighter options, with subtler flavours which are often (heaven forbid) adorned with prissy leaves and edible flowers.
As such, I thought it appropriate to create a form of salad with the end of this year’s harvest. By all means, the dressing can be used with a multitude of other salads and I urge you to try different combinations. Although this version takes some time, the results are truly delicious and will impress as a starter at any dinner party. I outline the elements below for inspiration:
Pickled Beetroot (Boiled, sliced and pickled for 2 hours in walnut oil, cider vinegar and malt vinegar)
Roasted Beetroot (Quartered and roasted at 160C for 45 minutes)
Caramelised Walnuts (100g Caster Sugar and a little water boiled to a caramel and combined with 50g walnuts)
Potato Salad (Boiled new potatoes combined with soured cream, chopped chives, salt and pepper)
Charred Baby Onions (Sliced thin and charred over a high heat for 2 mins each side)
Caramelised Pear (Sliced thin, browned in butter over a medium heat for 3 mins each side)
Baby Salad Leaves
Crème Fraîche Dressing (Crème fraîche mixed with juice and zest of 1/2 Orange and a little salt)