Roast Squash with Serrano Ham and Manchego

Thanks to Katrina for this recipe. I was lucky enough to be a guest at one of her recent dinner parties and she served this as a starter. It was a real crowd pleaser. You could, of course, serve larger portions for a healthy lunch or supper.

Roast Squash with Serrano Ham and ManchegoRoast Squash with Serrano Ham and Manchego

For the salad
600g butternut or coquina squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into cubes
3 tbsp olive oil
50g squash or pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp paprika
150g sliced serrano ham
2 handfuls of watercress, thick stems removed
50g Manchego cheese, rind removed

For the dressing
1 garlic clove, peeled and bruised (bashed slightly)
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Pinch of caster sugar
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

How to prepare
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Toss the squash with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, season generously and spread out on a roasting tray. Roast for 30 minutes, until golden and soft. Set aside
to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, toss the squash or pumpkin seeds with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, the paprika and a little salt. Spread out on a separate baking tray and roast for about 6 minutes, until lightly toasted.

To make the dressing, put the garlic clove, vinegar, mustard, sugar, oil and a pinch of salt and black pepper in a lidded jam jar and shake vigorously. The dressing can be made up to 4 days ahead and kept in the fridge.

To serve the salad, gently toss the squash, ham and watercress with the dressing in a large bowl. Shave the cheese over using a vegetable peeler and scatter with the roasted pumpkin seeds to finish.

Recipe by Sarah Baldwin