Tuesday, September 7, 2010

pumpkin and peach salad with lemon grass dressing

This is salad that definitely got me out of a rut! The Paperchef challenge this month made me put together ingredients I would not have thought of combining before. But the results were brilliant. The challenge required that I use pumpkin, peach, capers, and lemon grass. Capers, mostly from France or Italy, and lemon grass, from Asia, do not seem like obvious friends. But they taste great together, and made a delicious main dish salad.

Ant, my husband, won't eat fruit in a main dish, though, so I adapted this salad for his dinner tonight: I ate all the lovely peach and he got salmon on top instead! And a few noodles tucked underneath were a welcome addition to his meal.

The recipe for this is very "Jamie Oliver-esque" in that I have not measured all the ingredients. I think the "handfuls" approach works best for most salads. Just combine what you have and enjoy!
Pumpkin and Peach Salad with Lemon Grass Dressing
serves 2 as a main dish, or 4 as a side dish

1.8 kg pumpkin, peeled and chopped into cubes
1 c soaked black-eyed beans (or 1 can beans)
2 large handfuls baby bok choy, or other greens such as spinach, collards, or kale
1 lemon grass stem, outer layers removed and bottom 7 cm finely chopped
2 T lemon juice
3 T olive oil
1 peach, chopped
zest from 1 lemon
1 t capers, drained

Roast the pumpkin cubes in a hot oven for 15-25 minutes, until tender.
Cook the beans in a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes, until just tender. (If using canned beans, there is no need to cook. Skip this step.)
Bring a pot of water to boil and quickly blanch the baby bok choy for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain immediately under cold water to keep the bright green colour and to stop the greens overcooking.
Make the dressing by whisking together the lemon grass, lemon juice, and olive oil.
Combine the pumpkin, beans, bok choy, peach, dressing, lemon zest, and capers in a large bowl. Toss to combine.

This month's Paperchef is hosted by Asa of Miss Meisters mat med mera.... Please have a look at her very interesting food blog.

Update (10 September 2010):
The Paperchef 56 roundup is now available. See what ingenious ideas the others came up with. So clever! I think courgette and lemongrass pancakes sound particularly delightful (from Prospect: The Pantry).

Also, this recipe has been submitted to Katherine Martinelli's pumpkin link-up. Have a look for lots more pumpkin recipes.


kaye said...

Wow. Do you know how muc i love all you posts? healthy food :)

Tricia said...

What an awesome combination: pumpkin, beans, and peaches - yum! And those baby bok choy are so cute - I don't think I've ever seen ones so small.

I'm surprised it only take you 15 minutes to cook the black beans - are you using a pressure cooker?

Sarah said...

Hi kaye, thanks for visiting. I'm glad you like healthy food, too.

Hello Tricia, I soaked the beans overnight (or maybe it was two days--I just keep a container in the fridge at all times). Then I simmered them in the rice cooker. I liked the way you combined the thai basil with your Paperchef recipe: an inspired choice.

Åsa said...

Wow! I love your dish! And I do miss the baby bok choy that I can't find anywhere here in Sweden. Even normal size bok choy is hard to find in such a good condition as I did during my time in Santa Barbara, CA last year.
I do too use a lot of "handfuls" when I cook. Don't think I'll ever write a cookbook ;-)

I'll bet you'll cook something with fruit in it, anyday soon, for your husband to taste. Then he'll wonder why he hasn't eaten it earlier :-)

Mikey said...

That salad looks very light & refeshing!

Karen from Prospect the Pantry said...

Looks great! I had the same problem eating fruit with other dishes, but I've turned the corner this year and now I love it.

Sarah said...

Hello Asa, I have noticed that Jamie Oliver's cookbooks use "handfuls" in the instructions. I think this is so sensible for some dishes, such as salads. Thanks for the encouragement with fruit. :)

Mikey, thanks for visiting.

Karen, I think fruit is so great it should be eaten with every meal.... Now if only I could convince my hubby!

Åsa said...

Well, Sarah I think you'll have to maka a trip to my blog and read my last post ;-)

Sarah said...

Wow, Asa! Thanks so much! I can't wait to host next month's Paperchef. :-)

Katherine Martinelli said...

What a wonderful combination of ingredients!

The Tablescaper said...

I've heard about many a pumpkin recipes, but never one in a salad. It would be wonderful to have you be a part of Seasonal Sundays.

- The Tablescaper

Katherine Martinelli said...

What an unusual combination! I love it. Lemongrass dressing sounds divine. Thanks for linking up at my salad blog hop!

Losing Weight said...

I never had pumpkin in a salad, but this looks so refreshing, light and tasty. It is the perfect healthy meal to help keep you slim or slim you down. I have found so many delicious light and healthy recipes, it really makes a difference when you eat right, not only does it energize you, but it also improves your mood.

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