France is divided up into 22 metropolitan regions, most of which boast their own culture, dialect, and of course plats (dishes). When Napoleon became emperor in 1804 he tried to bring an end to the emphasis on regionalism and establish a unified France, promoting one language (French), civil law (or “The Napoleonic Code”) and a centralised education system.
Although France is now unified around its administrative departments, a strong sense of regionalism prevails. Many French people still speak their regional dialect (Corsican, Occitan, Bourbonnais etc.) and lay claim to certain regional dishes. A common regional dish is the region’s own take on a salad, and salads such as the Lyonnaise, Niçoise and Alsacienne still make a popular menu item today.
Admittedly, salads are not the most appetising thing on a cold, wintery day. However my winter salad is warm and nutritious – perfect for whenever you’re feeling a bit run down and need some nourishment. In France, salads are usually eaten as a first course, not as a side, but this salad can easily be eaten on its own as a plat principal (main course). The split peas and root vegetables make it hearty and healthy. Above all though, it’s super façile (easy) and quick. You could also use whatever vegetables you like, but I like to make it as colourful as I can.
Mon Salade d’Hiver de Légumes, Roquette et Pois Cassés:
Cooking Time: 10 mins prep + Approx. two hours to roast vegetables
-Approx. 2 Tbs olive oil
-Half a pumpkin (I like butternut), chopped into bite size pieces
-2-3 medium sized tomatos, chopped
-1 green capsicum, chopped
-1 red onion, chopped
-Approx. 4 cloves garlic (more if you like)
-Approx. 1 cup split peas or puy lentils
-100g feta cheese
-Rocket to serve
-4 Tbs olive oil
-Splash white wine vinegar
-Splash lemon juice
-Herbs as desired (I like to use fresh basil or dill)
-Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Chop up vegetables. Place pumpkin in oven tray and cover with olive oil. Toss to make sure the pumpkin is coated. Bake for about an hour. Add other vegetables and toss in the remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and put back in oven. About half an hour later fill small saucepan with water until one third full. Once water is boiled, add split peas and cook for 10-15 minutes or until peas are soft, but not mushy and over-cooked. Take vegetables out of oven once crispy. Make bed with split peas then add vegetables on top (keeping garlic cloves aside). Chop up garlic cloves and sprinkle, or squeeze the flesh out of the cloves across the salad. Add feta, then finish with a good handful of rocket. Combine vinaigrette ingredients in a small jug and dress each salad.