This autumn fall for salads made with grains
JP McMahon: Spelt with roasted vegetables and herbs will produce a filling alternative to leaves
Take a few yellow and green courgettes and chop them into evenly-sized pieces...
Though the summer is over and the kids are back at school, September weather is usually hot enough to still have one last weekend barbecue. I’m just back from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Festival in Devon, where I cooked in the fire pit (just a fancy name for loads of barbecues and a couple of spits for cooking lambs). I chose to cook shellfish and pair it with some seaweed and sea herbs. I’ve written before about barbecuing shellfish, so I won’t go into it again, save to say that it’s fantastic. Barbecued mussels are my favourite. Just put them directly in the barbecue and wait for them to open.
What struck me about cooking at River Cottage was the amount of vegetables that were cooked on the barbecues. Of course, this is part of Hugh’s eat less meat agenda,which I wholeheartedly agree with (that’s not to say I didn’t try the barbecued whole lamb). What stood out most for me were the flame-grilled courgettes, charred gently on the grill, and aubergines that sat directly in the embers, blistering purple skin releasing tantalising aromas.
While at River Cottage, I also had a beautiful dish of spelt, roasted vegetables and herbs and this got me thinking about autumnal salads that are made up of grains as opposed to leaves.
Here’s how to cook an autumn salad:
Take a few yellow and green courgettes and chop them into evenly-sized pieces. Place on a tray and season with oil and sea salt and whatever spices you fancy: paprika, fennel seeds and cracked black pepper would be my choice.
Roast them at 200 degrees Celsius until nicely cooked but not too soft. Cook some spelt (Dunany Farm produce Irish spelt) in simmering water until soft. Strain and fold in the roasted courgettes. Season with your choice of acidity (vinegar, lemon or lime). Tear or chop up and add loads of different herbs (mint, fennel, parsley and basil). Serve with some Velvet Cloud sheep’s yogurt.