Author Notes: This is a robust and fit for chilly autumn kind of salad; with the slow baked sweet potato and feta. The crunchy toasted pecans, zingy lime dressing and crisp spinach leaves lift it and prevent it from being too stodgy. There is also a real fusion of new flavours in this salad. I used to think pinenuts were the only nuts worth pairing with sweet potato, but since they accidentally shared a moment with toasted pecans here I don't think I'll ever look back. —Lucie
medium sweet potato
ounces pecan nuts
ounces feta cheese
ounces baby spinach leaves
tablespoons golden syrup
thumb-sized piece of ginger
milliliters good vegetable stock
tablespoons olive oil
teaspoons brown sugar
pinches sea salt
pinches black pepper, ground
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 Degrees C, Gas mark 4. Peel and finely chop the garlic, and ginger.
- Get a small pan on the hob and squeeze in the 4 limes and golden syrup. Place on a low heat and stir for 2 minutes until they combine. Throw in your ginger and garlic and give it a stir. Add a few pinches of salt and pepper.
- Stir for a few minutes more, add the boiled vegetable stock and take off the heat and allow to cool. Whilst this cools, peel the sweet potatoes and cut in half, then in half again length ways and across at 2cm intervals to make nice big chunks.
- Get a large baking tray ready and line it with grease proof paper to stop the potato sticking.
- Stir the olive oil into your dressing and toss half with the chunks of sweet potato and tip on to the tray. Cover tightly in tin foil and place in the pre-heated oven for about 40 minutes or until the potato is soft so you can stick a knife through it.
- Whilst these are cooking roughly chop your pecans and get another small pan on the hob on a medium heat. Dry fry the nuts in there then add some more seasoning and the sugar. Keep an eye on these and keep tossing them about as they will burn easily. Once browned nicely set aside.
- When the Sweet potato are just about soft and good to eat crumble over your 200g of feta and remove the tin foil and pop back in the oven turning the oven right down to 80 degrees C/gas mark 1. After 5 minutes take this out. The feta will have melted but leave it to cool and it will harden with a nice baked flavour.
- Build the salad on a large serving plate with handfuls of the spinach leaves tossed with chunks of sweet potato, scrape in the cooled crumbled feta, toss in handfuls of the pecans, and drizzle a spoonful or the remaining dressing made earlier. Repeat until you have no more left. Serve with some warmed ciabatta or foccacia to make a nice light meal.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Autumn Salad