Baa Baa Baby Salad

This is one of my favourite one-bowl just-add-fork dinners. As a Kiwi, I feel it’s part of my patriotic duty to support our sheep farming industry by promoting the consumption of gorgeous New Zealand lamb. So, if you’re at home in Godsown land you can cook this meal and feel proud that you’re making a contribution to the strength our national economy. And if you’re not in New Zealand, well just cook it anyway because it’s bloody delicious.

This is a fresh, modern summer meal but there are some traditions that deserve to remain, like the magic combination of lamb and mint which work so well in this dish along with the bitterness of the raddicio and sweetness of the orange. It all comes together for a light, refreshing take on lamb making it perfect for warmer weather. Tastes best served bathed in sunshine with a crisp beer or glass of rose.

Serves 2 hungry people as a one bowl meal or more as a pot-luck side.

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Get this stuff

Salad

400 grams lamb leg steak

200 grams baby spinach

200 grams raddicio

1 large red capsicum, finely sliced

200 grams broccoli florets or brocolini

200 grams fine green beans

300-400 grams butternut pumpkin

1 large orange, peeled and finely sliced but reserve the peel for the dressing

60 grams Danish feta crumbled

6-8 semi dried tomatoes roughly chopped

6-8 Garlic cloves

Mint finely chopped

Pepitas

Goji berries

Dressing

4 T Apple cider vinegar

4 T lemon juice

1 garlic clove

1/4C extra virgin olive oil

2 t dijon mustard

Salt & pepper to taste

Orange peel

1/2 – 1 T rice malt syrup to taste

* Measurements for the dressing are a bit loose as I tend to taste and adjust as I go along so use this as a guide and just make something that tastes good to you. It should be sharpish as the pumpkin and orange are quite sweet so you want something to offset that.

Do this with it

If I’m making this for dinner I usually serve the pumpkin and lamb as warm components but with salads being the spectacularly good thing that they are, it’s equally tasty as a cold dish. With summer coming up it’s a great option for a picnic or BBQ and it also looks pretty swanky too if you want to do a bit of showing off.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, cube the pumpkin and get it roasting along with the garlic cloves. Lightly steam the broccoli and beans so they’re still on the firm side then quickly douse them in cold water to halt the cooking process and stop them going nasty and soggy.

If you’re serving this as a one bowl dinner for two divvy the raddicio, spinach, capsicum, beans and broccoli between two big bowls.

Throw all the dressing ingredients in the blender and whizz into a nice smooth liquid. Taste, adjust to suit, then pour a few spoonfuls onto each bowl and save the rest for the finish.

Get a pan good and hot and cook the lamb to your liking – my preference is medium rare so I go for a quick sear on each side. Once it’s done let it rest for a few minutes while you pull the rest of the salad together.

Toss the roasted pumpkin and garlic through both bowls, slice the lamb and lay that pink juicy tenderness on top then finish with the orange, feta, pepitas, gojis, mint and a final lashing of dressing to pull it altogether. All you need now is a fork and a damn good appetite – I never have any trouble mustering the latter!

If you’re planning to serve this as a cold dish then let the pumpkin and lamb cool before you mix them through so they don’t wilt the gorgeous greens. Pack it all into your sexiest big salad bowl and enjoy the compliments when you whip out your casual little ‘something I prepared earlier’ crowd pleasing winner.

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