The beautiful colours in rainbow chard always cheer me up. It is reassuring that nature can effortlessly produce such natural vibrancy, and satisfying too that the cooking process does not diminish it. Combining rainbow chard with butternut squash and Taleggio makes for a really compelling ensemble of warm, earthy flavours, but also results in a dish that is so visually striking it wouldn't be out of place in an art gallery.
- 1 small butternut squash
- Small handful of sage leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- Flaky sea salt and black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Fine salt
- 1 bunch of rainbow chard, about 200g, thoroughly washed
- 200g Taleggio, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Cut the butternut in half lengthways, scoop out the seeds, then cut the flesh into small to medium ‘chips'. Place in a large bowl with the sage leaves, one of the chopped garlic cloves, a few very good pinches of sea salt, a twist of black pepper, and two tablespoons of olive oil. Turn everything over a few times with your hands to coat the butternut thoroughly, then transfer to a baking tray and put the tray into the oven. After 10 minutes, turn the pieces of butternut over and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare the rainbow chard. Place a pan of salted water over a high heat and bring to the boil. Separate the leaves and the stems. Cut the stems diagonally into bite-sized strips. Cut the leaves into quarters. Once the water has come to the boil, add the stems and cook for one minute, then add the leaves and boil for a further 30 seconds. Remove from the water and squeeze out any excess liquid.
Place into a large mixing bowl and add a good few glugs of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and the remaining chopped garlic clove. Turn several times to coat the chard well.
Once the butternut comes out of the oven, place the chard on top and then the slices of Taleggio. Return to the oven for two minutes till the cheese just starts to melt. Carefully transfer to serving plates. This lovely warm salad is best eaten immediately.
Recipe taken from Spuntino by Russell Norman, reviewed here. Photography by Jenny Zarins