Crispy lentil and roasted squash salad with salsa verde
Crisp, nutty, fried Puy lentils complement tender roasted squash beautifully. You can use sweet potato here in place of squash, and embellish this lovely autumn salad further with some crisp-fried leftover lamb, chicken or ham. In the spring or summer, the crisp lentils and salsa verde go beautifully with some blanched or roasted broccoli.
- 1 squash, such as butternut or onion (about 1kg)
- 2 garlic cloves, bashed
- 4 sprigs of rosemary
- 3 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
- 150g cooked Puy (or similar) lentils
- Sea salt and black pepper
For the salsa verde
- 1 small garlic clove
- 25g picked parsley leaves
- 2 anchovy fillets in oil
- 2 tsp capers, rinsed
- 1 tsp English or Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C/Gas 5.
Halve the squash and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves, cut side up, in a roasting tin. Place a bashed garlic clove and a couple of torn rosemary sprigs in each squash-half hollow. Season the squash with salt and pepper and trickle over 1 tbsp oil. Roast for 45–50 minutes or until the flesh is lovely and tender.
Meanwhile, make the salsa verde. Finely chop the garlic on a large board. Add the parsley, anchovies and capers and chop them all together until well mixed and fairly fine in texture.
Transfer to a bowl and mix in the mustard, lemon juice, some black pepper and enough extra virgin olive oil to give a spoonable consistency. As you add these last ingredients, taste and tweak the mixture until you are happy with the balance of flavours.
Place a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil, followed by the lentils. Fry, tossing regularly, for 10–12 minutes or until the lentils are really crisp (they will shrink too). Season well with salt and pepper.
Peel the warm, cooked squash (or just scoop the tender flesh out of the skin). Cut into bite-sized pieces and tip into a large serving bowl or divide between individual bowls. Scatter over the lentils, then spoon over the salsa verde. Serve straight away.