I wanted my dish to have big visual appeal, so I chose vegetables with a theme - the colour green. This is what I got:
Calabrese Broccoli (florets and stem)
"Jersey Royal" new potatoes (OK, not green, but see later on...)
I boiled the potatoes and left them to cool, and then prepared all the veg in advance, so that cooking (done at the last minute) would be easy. Here is part of my "mise en place". (Apologies for the poor photo. I normally take posed photos under the lights of the cooker-hood, but the hob was in use!)
In the dish covered with clingfilm is a Basil-and-Parsley pesto, which I made to match the colour-scheme. As it turned out, the Basil dominated, and you wouldn't have guessed that there was any Parsley in it.
When the time came to start cooking (about half an hour before serving-time), I started with the pre-cooked potatoes, frying them gently in some oil with the addition of sliced Spring Onions and lots of fresh Thyme - so in a sense even the potatoes were green. After a few minutes I started on the veg, adding them to a big pan of boiling water in order of length of cooking time required. The Runner and French Beans and Broccoli stem went in first, then the Broad Beans, then the Broccoli florets, and lastly the Asparagus.
Meanwhile, I fried the sliced Halloumi cheese. Until recently we have always cooked Halloumi by griddling it, but it often went hard, dry and rubbery. Then we discovered that when fried Halloumi is lovely and soft... It only takes a few minutes to cook, so you have to keep a close eye on it and make sure it doesn't burn. You are looking for "golden", not "blackened"!
When the veggies were done I drained them and assembled them on a big oval plate (one decorated in a suitably sylvan theme!), trying to spread the various elements around evenly. Finally I placed the Halloumi on top:
I served the pesto separately, for spooning on top of our individual servings. The dish doesn't look so elegant now!
Though I say it myself, this was a great combination, and I was very proud of the result. I'm giving myself a score of 9/10 in the "Invention Test". I think this dish will be made again. It would be a really good one for eating outdoors in the Summer-time. (Did I mention the bottle of cool Chilean Sauvignon Blanc that accompanied our meal?)
Finally, I want to show you the "nibbles" that preceded our main dish:
I think we managed our Five-a-Day vegetables (or is it supposed to be Seven-a-Day?) all right yesterday!
Some elements of this meal came from my own garden - Radishes, Asparagus, Basil, Parsley. I am therefore offering it up for Harvest Monday on Daphne's Dandelions.