pickled pumpkin – version 1
as you know, i enjoy reading rowley leigh’s recipes for the ft – they are an interesting mix of quite classic dishes, that i’ve often never heard of, and more contemporary, often asian, ones. it’s usually the classic italian recipes and the asian ones that i cook, i’m never that keen on traditional french dishes although his recent eggs poached in red wine did make me think twice, just because of the crazy look of the dish!
this recipe really appealed as it uses pickled pumpkin, something that i’ve never tried to make or eat. and given the flavours of the thai dressing, i thought it would be good as the weather turns more spring like.
the final thing that made me cook it was when, flicking through some old magazines, i found a skye gyngell recipe that also uses pickled pumpkin in a completely different way! so i decided to make both.
rowley’s pickling mix has a lot of spice in it – cloves, ginger, pepper and bay – plus lemon garlic and chilli. the preserved pickle can be kept in the fridge, in its pickling mix, for a couple of weeks.
i enjoyed the dish – the dressing’s thai flavours reflect the slight spiciness of the pumpkin. however, i do think it’s best as a starter – i had it as a main and while eating the pumpkin was fun to begin with, it became a bit monotonous as i neared the end.
rowley leigh’s pickled pumpkin and prawn salad with coriander (serves 4 with enough pumpkin for another use later)
for the pickled pumpkin:
1kg pumpkin or squash (i used a delica pumpkin)
3 teaspoons sea salt
500ml cider vinegar
150ml maple syrup
150ml light brown caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 red chilli, split lengthways and seeds removed
6 strips lemon peel, 6 strips orange peel
halve the pumpkin, remove the seeds and peel. slice the pumpkin into thin segments approximately 3mm thick. rinse the slices, pat dry, sprinkle with the sea salt and leave for at least three hours or overnight. drain and rinse in cold water and then place with the sea salt and leave for at least three hours or overnight. drain and rinse in cold water and then place in a deep tray.
combine in a saucepan all the other ingredients and bring to a gentle simmer before cooking for 20 minutes. pour the mixture over the pumpkin and bring back to a gentle simmer for 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender. leave to cool. the pumpkin should be chilled before using.
16 large fresh prawns in the shell, 500g-600g
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 birdseye or finger chilli (very hot), also very finely chopped
1 large bunch of fresh coriander
1 dessertspoon nam pla (thai fish sauce)
2 dessertspoons sunflower oil
16 slices of pickled pumpkin
bring a large pot of water to the boil with a dessertspoon of salt. drop in the prawns and bring back to the boil and then simmer for two or three minutes. lift out the prawns and let them cool as quickly as possible on a tray – not in cold water. once cool, peel and remove the vein and trail running down the back.
finely grate the zest of the limes into a salad bowl. squeeze the limes and add their juice to the bowl along with the chopped ginger and chilli, the nam pla and the sunflower oil. then pick the larger stalks from the coriander of the limes into a salad bowl. squeeze the limes and add their juice to the bowl along with the chopped ginger and chilli, the nam pla and the sunflower oil. then pick the larger stalks from the coriander and toss the pumpkin slices, coriander and prawns together in the piquant dressing.