These baby gem lettuce wraps from Tom Meenaghan are the ultimate portable salad.
"What could be better for a picnic than a salad in the hand? This is a very robust dish, ideal for transporting and each morsel truly represents the colours of summer. The gorgeous Middle Eastern flavours combine with the sweetness of the squash, the saltiness of the feta, the tartness of the pomegranate and the zinginess of the sumac." – Tom Meenaghan
Yield: Makes around 24 wraps
- 600g butternut squash
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pinch salt and twist of pepper
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 heads baby gem
- 1⁄2 pomegranate
- 120g feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- Remove the centre part of the unpeeled squash and discard. Dice the squash into 1cm squares.
- Preheat a frying pan over a medium heat, pour in the oil and then add the squash, stirring well to ensure all of it is coated with the oil. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to obtain a golden colour. Season with salt and pepper, add the honey and cook for a further minute before transferring onto a plate and leaving to cool.
- Cut the root from the base of the baby gem and gently peel away the leaves from one another. Soak in a bowl of iced water for five minutes, strain gently and spin in the salad spinner.
- Over a bowl, hold the pomegranate and tap with the back of a spoon until all the seeds come out.
- Arrange the lettuce leaves on a serving platter, place some squash into the leaf, crumble the feta cheese on top, place the pomegranate seeds around it. Sprinkle the sumac from a height all around and serve.
TIP: I rarely bother peeling squash – it’s much better with the skin left on.
Photography Credit: Harry Weir, assisted by Brian Clarke
For more al fresco dining, check out the recipes below: