Sweet potato & bacon salad with pumpkin seeds, ricotta & shallots recipe image

Print Sweet potato & bacon salad with pumpkin seeds, ricotta & shallots

This salad is designed to be served slightly warm.

Ingredients

  • 800g sweet potatoes
  • 100g smoked streaky bacon
  • 50g pumpkin seeds
  • 125g ricotta
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 100g salad leaves
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200˚C/Gas Mark 6. Peel the sweet potato. Chop the flesh into 3cm chunks. Place the sweet potato in the roasting tray, coat well in oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Pop in the oven to roast until just tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, peel the shallot and slice it as finely as you possibly can. Place the slices in a small bowl with the vinegar and sugar, mix well and leave to lightly pickle. Place the pumpkin seeds in the frying pan. Toast them over a medium heat, moving continuously, until they take a little colour and smell fragrant. Be cautious not to burn them.
  3. Add a little oil and season with salt. Keep to one side and give the pan a wipe clean. Next cook the bacon. Start by cutting away any rind from the edge and discarding it. Put the frying pan onto the heat with a very small amount of oil: the bacon will release plenty of fat. Cook the bacon over a medium heat until golden and crispy, about 6-8 minutes, turning once.
  4. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper. Reserve the bacon fat in the pan if choosing to make the alternative dressing in the cook’s notes. While the bacon cools, make the dressing: remove 1 tablespoon of vinegar from the pickling shallots and whisk it thoroughly with the mustard and a good pinch of salt. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of olive oil, adding it slowly so that you get a well combined dressing. When the bacon has cooled and become firm, break it into small, bite-size pieces.
  5. Wash the salad leaves, drain it and shake, spin or pat dry. When the sweet potato is cooked let it cool slightly for 10 minutes. Place it in a bowl with the salad leaves, bacon, pumpkin seeds and dressing. Mix well, pile onto plates and scatter over the ricotta.

Cooks notes

If you are feeling indulgent you can make your dressing with the warm bacon fat that remains after cooking the bacon. Just keep it on a gentle heat and whisk in the mustard and a tablespoon of vinegar. There should be no need to season with anything more than a little pepper. You’ll need to serve this immediately.
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