Monday, 17 September 2007

Hot Nuts

I read an interesting article in last week's Guardian by the one and only Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Hugh is a man who has taken a dream and turned it into reality. What he does in his work with food is exemplary, and I have so much respect for him. If I could turn myself into somebody, it would not be David Beckham or Brad Pitt - Hugh in all of his unpretentious glamour would be my number one choice.

Back to the article, he discussed the pleasures of the British cobnut. This time last year, I was scampering up my own cobnut tree in Leeds, battling with the squirrels and succeeding in filling a few jars with the beautiful fresh nut. Now that I have moved, I don't have that pleasure and I miss it dearly. The squirrels on the other hand had a party the day that I left.

With no cobnuts or hazelnuts to hand, I had a go at tweaking one of his recipes. It was an amazing salad of pork sausage, bacon and cobnuts. I changed it to almonds, crisped up a few sage leaves and instead of pork sausage, I used up some fantastic Orkney lamb sausages that my butcher makes. I also had a small bag of chick pea shoots which scattered the salad with a bit of health and vitality. All in all, it made for a brilliant Saturday lunch, with hot crunchy bacon and almonds combining perfectly with the pepper hot sausages, rocket and aromatic sage. And the squirrels may have escaped with my pilfering this year, but with a few hazel trees already spotted up here in the North East, my time will come in 2008....

Warm Salad of Sausage, Bacon, Almonds and Chick Pea Shoots

Feeds 2

4 good quality lamb sausages (or your sausage of choice)
5 rashers of streaky bacon, sliced into pieces
A good handful of almonds or hazelnuts
10 sage leaves
2 or 3 handfuls of rocket leaves or watercress
2 handfuls of chickpea shoots, or cooked chickpeas
Olive oil

For the dressing
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

1 - Heat some olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add the bacon and cook until crisp and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and put aside on kitchen paper.
2 - Add the sausages to the bacon fat and cook gently until cooked right through. Remove and slice into diagonal pieces.
3 - Keeping the pan on the heat, drain some of the fat from the pan then add the bacon and sausage along with the almonds and sage leaves. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the almonds have turned golden and the sage has crisped slightly.
4 - Make the dressing by combining all of the ingredients and mixing well together.
5 - Dress the plates with the hot ingredients, then scatter over the rocket leaves and chickpea shoots, followed by a good drizzle of the mustard dressing. I served it with some simple toasts, rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil.


Joanna said...

Great combination, especially like the chick pea shoots here. I don't know if you have a Waitrose near you, I know it's mostly concentrated in the south, but my local branch has cobnuts in stock at the moment ... a first, I think!


Kelly Mahoney said...

I'm not sure if I've ever had a cobnut, but the dish looks yummy.

winedeb said...

I really enjoy warm salads and this one sounds yummy. I will have to look up chick pea shoots. Have not seen them here yet, but sound interesting.

Cynthia said...

What are cobnuts? never heard of it before.

David Hall said...

Kelly and Cynthia

If you have had a hazlenut, you have had a cobnut. A cobnut is just a cultivated variety of hazel and grown all over Europe.

Winedeb, any pea shoot will do. You can grown your own by putting a load in a shallow dish and putting water halfway up, leave it by the windowsill for a few days and it SHOULD work!


Figs Olives Wine said...

What a great flavor profile here! I think we'll have this for dinner - savory and fortifying in just the way I'm craving, so thanks!

Andy said...

I have never seen chickpea shoots before but they look great.

Coffee & Vanilla said...

I just tried rocket leaves for the fist time this week and I love them!! I made warm chicken, mung and couscous salad... I will post the reciope tonight.
Your salad sounds lovely, except the sausage (no red meat) :)
Ciao, Margot

Amaryllis said...

Good for people to know.