Oven-roasted Acorn Squash with Salt-baked Beetroots and Rosehip and Elderberry Vinaigrette
Oven-roasted Acorn Squash with Salt-baked Beetroots and Rosehip and Elderberry Vinaigrette

Oven-roasted Acorn Squash with Salt-baked Beetroots and Rosehip and Elderberry Vinaigrette

  • Prep time:

  • Cook time:

  • Total time:

  • Portion/Yield:

    Serves 4 as a starter
  • Difficulty:

    Easy

Using a glut from the garden means that recipes can be adapted and changed as required, as different ingredients become available. If you do not have acorn squash, then use any of the many other different squash varieties, such as butternut or hubbard. The beetroot baked in salt gives it a concentrated and intense earthy taste, which works beautifully with the rosehip and elderberry vinaigrette. For the vinaigrette, use the Rosehip Syrup recipe. This dish is best eaten at room temperature, so make all the components in advance and let them cool to room temperature before serving.photo Oven-roasted Acorn Squash with Salt-baked Beetroots and Rosehip and Elderberry Vinaigrettephoto of Oven-roasted Acorn Squash with Salt-baked Beetroots and Rosehip and Elderberry Vinaigrettephoto of Oven-roasted Acorn Squash with Salt-baked Beetroots and Rosehip and Elderberry Vinaigrettephoto of Oven-roasted Acorn Squash with Salt-baked Beetroots and Rosehip and Elderberry Vinaigrette

Ingredients & Method

For the salt-baked beetroots

  • 4 whole fresh beetroots (480–500g total weight), leaves trimmed off
  • 200g coarse sea salt

For the oven-roasted acorn squash

  • 1 acorn squash (900g–1kg total weight), cut in half lengthways, peeled and deseeded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ras el hanout
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

For the roast cauliflower and soft-boiled eggs

  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets and thick stalk discarded (about 450g prepared florets)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ras el hanout
  • 2 eggs

For the rosehip and elderberry vinaigrette

  • 4 tablespoons Rosehip Syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh elderberries (stalks removed), washed and patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

First, cook the salt-baked beetroots. Preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas Mark 3. Wash the beetroots and place in a roasting tin, then pack the coarse salt around them. Bake in the oven for about 2 hours or until cooked and tender. To test if the beetroots are ready, insert a metal skewer into each one – if it glides in and out with ease it’s ready, but if there is a bit of resistance, continue cooking until tender. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Remove the beetroots from the salt, rub the skins off and cut the beetroots into 3–4cm dice. Set aside.

While the beetroot is cooling, roast the squash. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Cut the squash flesh into 5–6cm dice, then place in a bowl, add the olive oil, ras el hanout and salt and pepper and toss together to mix well. Transfer the squash to a baking tray, spreading it out evenly, then roast in the oven for 25–30 minutes or until cooked, tender and golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

While the squash is roasting, roast the cauliflower at the same time. Put the cauliflower florets in a bowl, add the olive oil, cider vinegar and ras el hanout and toss together to mix well. Spread the cauliflower mixture out on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 10–12 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender but it still retains a little bit of crunch. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, soft-boil the eggs. Bring a small saucepan of water to a rapid boil, carefully place the eggs into the boiling water, then bring back to the boil and boil for 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain, then immediately place the eggs in a bowl of iced water to cool them quickly. Drain, then peel the eggs and set aside.

In the meantime, to make the vinaigrette, place the rosehip syrup, water, cider vinegar, elderberries and salt and pepper in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer over a low heat, then cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the olive oil, then leave to cool. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, cut the soft-boiled eggs in half and season each half with salt and pepper. Arrange the squash, beetroot and cauliflower with the egg halves on serving plates, season with salt and pepper and spoon some vinaigrette over (see Cook’s Notes). Garnish each portion with some baby salad leaves and serve.

Cook’s Notes

If you have any of the vinaigrette leftover, store it in an airtight container in the fridge and use within 1 week. Serve the vinaigrette with roast partridge and roast parsnips, or drizzle it over warm pan-fried mackerel and sea beet.

This dish can also be served as an accompaniment to poached salmon or whole baked grey mullet.