And to the food! January is one of those times that should be peaceful but instead we end up putting the year in place and it can become very hectic. On top of that we have pressures of what we should be achieving, our diet, lack of money. So this winter salad is a saviour. I spoke on Monday about what I thought of January diets - I think it's so much more important to be healthy but this dish does have the bonus of being super nourishing AND low in fat and calories.
I admit to never having eaten Jerusalem artichokes before now - and man, where have they been all my life? When roasted in their skins they are slightly chewy, buttery things of love with a slight hint towards earthy. The best way for me to describe them is a mid way between parsnips and potatoes but I'm not keen on parsnips so don't be put off if you're not either.
It was almost like it was meant to be for me and this recipe - the very same day Barcombe delivered possibly my best box yet with some of these knobbly wonders, I had spied a recipe in a magazine (I *think* it was Delicious). I've adapted it slightly to suit what I had in the cupboard (that's the joy of country life, it makes you have to be a bit more creative, especially when you've had a cheeky afternoon gin).
You will need a good 45 minutes to roast these before eating so bear that in mind, otherwise you can roast on an evening and have this for lunch the next day (cold is as good!).
Recipe // Jerusalem Artichoke, Pear and Goat's Cheese winter salad
- 4 or 5 jerusalem artichokes, if small leave whole but if medium to large half or quarter to match the pears
- 2 pears, cored and quartered (I used Rocha pears but conference will probably work well)
- Around 75g soft goats cheese
- A few handfuls of leaves (spinach would be good)
- A few fresh sage leaves (thyme will work well if you don't have any - thyme is so simple to keep planted on a windowsill or doorstep)
- tsp good quality local honey
- Good quality rapeseed oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Juice of 1/4 lemon
- salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 180˚c/gas 4.
- Add the jerusalem artichokes to a smallish roasting pan and drizzle with a bit of the oil. Season and toss in the sage (or thyme). Pop this in the oven.
- Now add your pears to a similar size pan and drizzle with a little oil and your honey. Pop this in the oven when you have 30 minutes cooking time left on the jerusalem artichokes and give them a good shake while you're at it.
- While you wait for them to roast prepare your dressing by adding a dash of balsamic vinegar to a small bowl, add a glug of the oil and squeeze your lemon into it. Give it a little stir and set aside until your artichokes & pears have roasted. Arrange some salad leaves on plates and top with equal amounts of your roasted goodness. Top with half each of the dressing and crumble the goats cheese on top. Add more pepper if you wish.
- The warmth of the roasted artichoke and pear will feel like the ultimate winter salad indulgence. And it's so filling you won't need much else for a lunch. Simply wonderful!
Formally Emma Gutteridge