Max Rocha rustles up a generous helping of onion squash, borlotti beans and yellow courgettes
In the past few months I’ve found myself eating a lot less meat and turning to more of the hearty vegetables that are available this time of year, such as beetroot, squash and mushrooms. I learnt how to cook onion squash at Spring restaurant with a brilliant chef called Hussein Sarhan, who treats vegetables with the same respect that many chefs would give meat or fish. When cooking something like onion squash, you don’t need to peel the skin as it’s completely edible. I’ve included a simple dressing here, though it’s also really very nice without.
250g dried borlotti beans
6 sage leaves
Half a bunch of parsley
Half an onion
1 head of garlic
1 onion squash
1 yellow courgette
1 pinch of dry chilli
Half a bunch
Zest of 1 lemon
1. The night before you plan to make this dish, submerge the dried borlotti beans in water and soak overnight — they don’t need to be kept in the fridge.
2. The next day, place the beans in fresh water in a heavy-bottomed pan with a big glug of olive oil, half of the sage leaves, parsley stalks, the whole chilli, half an onion and half a head of garlic. Bring to the boil and simmer for about an hour or until it reaches your preferred cooking texture. Add a good pinch of salt when the beans are cooked and allow them to cool in the liquid.
3. To roast the squash, cut it in half, remove the seeds and cut into half moon shapes. Cut the yellow courgette into 1 inch-thick pieces, place in a large mixing bowl with the squash, remaining sage leaves, a pinch of dry chilli, olive oil, 4 garlic cloves, salt and pepper, then give them a good mix with your hands so everything is evenly coated.
4. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and evenly spread out the vegetables. Use two trays if necessary. Cover with tinfoil and cook in a preheated oven at 180C for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and the courgettes, then continue to bake the squash for a further 20 minutes.
5. To make the dressing, mix together the chopped parsley, mint, salt, lemon zest, half a clove of crushed garlic and olive oil. The vegetables carry so much flavour so you don’t want too much dressing.
6. To serve, warm the beans and courgettes with some of the bean poaching liquor in a pan. When heated, place them in a bowl with the squash on top and a drizzle of the dressing, finishing off with the sage leaves from the roasting tray.