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the goods


you will need:

2 - 3 sweet potatoes

1 butternut squash / pumpkin

1 loaf polenta

salad greens such as pea sprouts or  baby arugula / rocket

cherry tomatoes

1 lb / 500g fresh prawns

olive oil

vegetable seasoning:

2 pinches saffron threads

1/4 tspn cayenne pepper

1/2 tspn salt

14 tspn paprika

pinch cumin

pinch turmeric

roasted garlic and saffron dressing:

1 head of garlic

4 good pinches of saffron

juice of a good sized lemon

olive oil (preferably lemon flavoured)

1/4 tspn cayenne pepper

pinch turmeric

pinch cumin

salt to taste



you will need:

  • baking tray
  • salad bowl
  • zip loc bag
  • baking parchment

time: 35-45 minutes baking





Crispy sweet potato and butternut salad with polenta croutons and roasted garlic & saffron dressing

The heady aroma and golden hue of precious saffron threads are the perfect assets for all of the ingredients in this delicious salad. Seared prawns, roasted vegetables and crispy nuggets of polenta taste incredible when drenched in this sublime dressing. A handful of leaves and cherry tomatoes are thrown in to give the dish a salad status, but you could serve this dish a dozen ways; a bed of soft polenta with the roasted vegetables and prawns strewn on top...or turn it into a soup served with wedges of grilled polenta. Heck, you could skewer and grill the lot and serve the dressing as a sauce.

It pays to roast the garlic bulb ahead of time; then you simply squeeze it in with the other dressing ingredients.

This meal can be brought together with a minimum of effort and a maximum of taste.

If you're feeling particularly fond of your guest, use some heart shaped cookie cutters on the veggies and polenta. Just make sure you buy some chubby, round sweet potatoes; lop the neck off the butternut squash...the beauty of this (other than brownie points from the object of your affection) is that you don't even need to peel anything!

Speaking of polenta, it takes little effort to make a batch, but in the spirit of immediate gratification, I bought a pre-cooked package at the supermarket (it saves at least one pot at clean-up time!)


Roast  the garlic bulb, wrapped in foil, in a moderate oven until tender (about 1 1/2 hrs), cool and set aside.   

Pre heat  the oven to 410f / 210c

Line a baking sheet with parchment and brush it lightly with olive oil.

Slice or cut the vegetables and polenta into equal size rounds, about 3/4 inch / 2cm thick and place the vegetables in a large bag.

Mix the vegetable seasoning together and add to the bag with some olive oil. Seal and toss about until the vegetables are well coated, remove and arrange on the parchment. Add the polenta to the bag and toss it carefully so that it gathers any residual seasoning. Add the polenta to the vegetables.

Bake until crisp and tender, about 40 mins, turning once half way through cooking. 

Squeeze  the garlic pulp from the skin, add to a small bowl with the spices and equal measures of lemon juice and olive oil. Blend, add salt to taste.

Line  a large salad bowl with greens and tomatoes, arrange the roasted bits on top. Add some prawns which have been quickly seared in a hot skillet. (These are entirely optional as the vegetables are so delicious, or you could substitute with chicken tenders or lamb cutlets).

Pour the dressing over the lot. 

Serve immediately, with a great crusty loaf to mop up any leftovers!