Recipe: Sweet Potato Salad With Rocket, Bacon, Cheese and Pecans
Hello! I had a dinner party this weekend. I cooked all day, the food was delicious, and I couldn’t think of any people I’d rather have around my (coffee) table. Thanks for coming guys!
Anyway. Did I tell you I had a new favourite cookbook? Well I do. And it’s Sunday Suppers at Lucques: Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table by the amazing Suzanne Goin.
For the starter I decided to make a light but interesting salad of rocket, toasted and salted pecans, roasted sweet potato, pancetta, manchego and vinaigrette. The recipe called for kabocha squash, and for the life of me I couldn’t find any in all of London. The butternuts around at the moment are a bit watery, and to get the caremelised edges and sweetness required I went for sweet potato instead. I haven’t tasted the original, but was really happy with how mine came out.
I prepared all the components in advance except for the warm bacon, shallot and vinaigrette mixture which I threw together when everyone had arrived. It was pretty much a miracle that there were any pecans left, because they were SO GOOD I had to keep picking at them all day.
I tried my hardest to arrange the salad artistically on the plates, but I am not the world’s most dainty person!
The salad was amazing. I would quite happily have it again, as a main course with some crusty bread. Yum!
Sweet potato Salad with Rocket, Bacon, Cheese and Pecans
½ cup pecan halves
6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
3 small sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
150g streaky bacon in one piece
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
8 ounces rocket, cleaned
¼ cup sliced shallots
Shavings of Manchego cheese, to serve
Spread pecans on baking tray and toast in a 200 degree oven for about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until fragrant. Toss with 1 teaspoon oil and a pinch of salt. Try not to eat them all.
Cut the peeled sweet potato into thin wedges. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Roast, flat on baking sheet, about 45 minutes, until caramelised at the edges. Meanwhile, cut bacon into small oblongs.
Whisk together vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt.
Place rocket in a large salad bowl. Heat a large pan over high heat for 1 minute. Add bacon, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes, until just beginning to brown. Lower heat to medium, add shallots and toss to combine. Remove from heat, swirl in vinaigrette and add to greens with sweet potato. Season and toss gently. Taste for seasoning.
Serve salad sprinkled with toasted pecans and shacings of manchego.