Warm Pea, Broad Bean, Fennel and Herb Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

with Parmesan Dressing

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

Appears in

Salads

Salads

By Peter Gordon

Published 2005

  • About

Sweet potato and Parmesan seem, to me at least, a match made in culinary heaven. Definitely ‘fusion food’ when put together (Italians aren’t known for using sweet potato), they carry each other – and each other’s flavours — so well. Fresh peas are one of summer’s highlights (along with swimming in a river and eating a fresh mango in the sea), but if you can’t get fresh peas then don’t feel bad about using frozen ones – often they’ll be frozen within hours of being picked, so buy a good brand and just don’t tell your guests!

Ingredients

  • 800 g sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • generous handful of fresh herbs (use either rosemary, thyme or oregano, or a mixture of all three)
  • 2 medium-sized heads of fennel
  • 700 g fresh broad beans, podded (podded weight about 250 g), cooked until tender and refreshed in iced water
  • 4 large tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 500 g fresh peas, podded (podded weight about 200 g), cooked until tender and refreshed in iced water
  • large handful of salad greens (I used amaranth, but choose whatever adds colour and flavour – try shredded radicchio or red chicory, rocket or dandelion)

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas 6. Line a wide roasting dish with baking parchment and add the sweet potato, garlic, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the herbs, and mix together. Add 4 tablespoons of water to the dish and roast for 20–30 minutes, until the potato is just cooked, tossing twice as it bakes. (The water stops the potato sticking to the paper, and the paper in turn stops the whole lot from sticking to the dish.)

Meanwhile, using a mandolin grater or a sharp knife, slice the fennel into very thin rounds. If the broad beans are large, remove their grey skin by tearing it and squeezing the green centres out; but if the beans are small and sweet, then don’t bother.

In a large bowl, mix the remaining olive oil with half the Parmesan and all of the lemon juice, then add a little salt and pepper and mix in the broad beans, peas and fennel.

Once the potato is cooked, sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over it and toss together, then divide this between 4 warmed plates. Lay the salad greens on top, then add the fennel salad last of all.