It was the first morning this year that I couldn’t leave the house without a long-sleeved top. Autumn has certainly arrived and it’s time for a wardrobe change. I figured it might be time for a pantry change too but when I suggested to my husband that soup should be on the menu this week, he frowned. Being a summer person, he’s not quite ready to surrender to winter yet. I quite like cold weather but to be honest, I wasn’t too keen either.
Thankfully salads are still a perfect meal in autumn. If the thought of crunching through raw veges literally gives you chills then it’s simply time for seasonal substitutions! Crispy cos and iceberg lettuce can be replaced with greens like spinach which works well with warm ingredients. Grilled corn, zucchini and eggplant are good to use in place of tomatoes and cucumbers. Instead of cooled poached chicken slices, grilled chicken straight from the pan works just fine.
The other weekend I tried a salad which was perfect for the summer to autumn changeover: warm, but still refreshing and light. I panfried some sobrasada* (from my favourite Spanish deli, Xarcuteria in Claremont) with some chicken tenderloin, which I then served on a bed of spinach, quinoa, roasted pumpkin and orange segments. I was tempted use a dressing but with a lot going on already, I decided to keep things simple. It certainly didn’t need anything more than a crank of cracked pepper and a good glass of white wine.
Late last year I was introduced to a lovely Pinot Gris by New Zealand winery Stoneleigh. My husband and I have become very partial to Pinot Gris (and his Italian mate Pinot Grigio) in recent years. We like that they’re an honest, fuss-free wine that taste like what you imagine white wine should (if that makes sense?). Stoneleigh’s Pinot Gris has a discernible fruitiness compared to European PGs but it’s still much more subtle than your typical Semillion/Sauvignon Blanc combo.
My salad had a lot of salty, sweet and tangy flavours…
*Sobrasada is a Majorcan spreadable chorizo but regular chorizo sliced or diced up is fine too. Whichever you use, pan frying releases a lot of lovely flavours and oils from the sausage so no need to add extra oil. Just throw the chicken pieces in so it absorbs the goodness as it cooks. I finished the sobrasada and chicken off with a dash of honey. Salty and sweet!