Char-grilled Baby Butternut Salad with Lemon, Garlic, Feta and Mint

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I have been eyeing out these little baby butternuts for ages now and finally my curiosity got the better of me and I bought them. They are teeeeny tiny little butternuts. About the size of a small baby marrow. But once I had bought then, I didn’t have a clue what to do with them.

babybutternut

I did a bit of research and came across Jane-Anne Hobbs’ Scrumptious blog. She has a recipe for them that really appealed to my flavour senses. I tried it, I loved it and I will make this again and again! It was amazing! And so great to find and try a new veggie that tastes and looks great on a plate! If you don’t have baby butternut you could substitute with baby marrows. I served this with some plain old ordinary baked fish fillets. I topped the fish with this salad and then gave it all another drizzle of the dressing that was left over and it worked amazingly well and elevated those boring old fillets to a much higher standard! But I can imagine it going well with anything really! Absolutely gorgeous flavours!

10 baby butternut squashes

Olive oil for rubbing

Juice of a lemon

For the dressing:

4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled

Juice of a large lemon (about 3 T; 45 ml)

130 ml fruity olive oil

a pinch of salt

freshly milled black pepper

3 T (45 ml) fresh, finely chopped mint

A dash of green Tabasco sauce

crumbled feta cheese

salt and freshly milled black pepper

–   Heat a ridged griddle pan on a hot plate for 7-10 minutes, or until very, very hot. Wash and wipe each little butternut squash well to remove any furry bits. Cut the squashes, lengthways into four ‘leaves’. Using your fingers, rub each slice, top and bottom, with a little olive oil.

–   Place the slices on the griddle, in batches, and cook until dark-gold lines appear on the underside, and the edges of each slice begin to darken. Add more olive oil, if necessary. Flip the slices over. When they are nicely striped on both sides, remove them from the pan and put aside on a plate. When all the slices have been browned, pile them back into the griddle pan, turn the heat down to medium-low, wait for a few minutes for the pan to cool slightly, and squeeze over the juice of one lemon, plus a tablespoon of water. Cover the griddle pan a saucepan lid of the right size. Leave the slices to steam gently until they are just cooked: that is, tender-crisp, but not raw, and certainly not mushy.

–   In the meantime, make the dressing. Finely chop the garlic, or smash it to pieces with a mortar and pestle. Add the olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, mint and bash it all together in the pestle and mortar until smooth and slightly creamy. If you don’t have a pestle and mortar you can blitz it in a small food processor. Let the mixture sit and infuse for ten minutes while you finish cooking the butternut slices.

–   Lift the cooked baby butternut slices from the pan, arrange on a big platter, drizzle the dressing over it and allow to cool for five minutes. Crumble the feta cheese over the salad, and set aside, at room temperature, for 20 minutes to an hour or two so the flavours can mingle.  Don’t put it in the fridge.

Serves 6

Original recipe by Jane-Anne Hobbs, slightly tweaked by me.

Photo courtesy of Jane-Anne Hobbs

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