May is a great month to be a chef, with asparagus, peppery watercress and sweet Jersey Royals all at their best. There are, however, some decent winter root vegetables still around, so this spring dish has a little bit of winter in it too.
The roulade recipe is my take on the classic spinach roulade. The method is fairly traditional but I have boosted the gently flavours of spinach with a mustardy hit of watercress, and filled it with chopped cashew nuts to add body and moisture. A crisp breadcrumb shell gives a welcome crunch, and a gentle hint of dill complements the comforting savoury notes of nutmeg.
We are currently serving this roulade in The Guilford Arms Restaurant with some celeriac chips, char-grilled asparagus and a rich béarnaise sauce, and it has been very well received by the vegetarians, partly because it tastes great, but mainly because it’s not a risotto or a goats cheese tart.
Spinach, Watercress, Dill & Cashew Nut Roulade – serves 4
400g baby spinach – washed
100g watercress – washed
20g unsalted butter
4 eggs – separated
4 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
300g cashew nuts
1 teaspoon chopped dill
4 cups panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 190C. Line a 25cm baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- Wilt the spinach and watercress in a large pot( the water that clings to it after washing is all the liquid it needs). Pat dry and pulse in a food processor with the butter & egg yolk. Season with salt, pepper & nutmeg.
- Whisk the egg whites stiff & fold into the spinach puree.
- Tip the mixture into the prepared tin & bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until the top is springy (not wet).
- In the meantime chop the cashew nuts in a food processor until it becomes a moist paste. Add the chopped dill.
- When the roulade is cooked turn it onto a large piece of baking paper. Working quickly sprinkle over the Parmesan & spread out the cashew filling. Roll into a tight log & set in the fridge.
- Once cool roll in the bread crumbs.
- Heat some olive oil in a non-stick pan and gently fry on all sides until golden. Place in an oven at 180C for a five minutes to heat through. Slice into even pieces & serve with the grilled asparagus, celeriac chips & Béarnaise sauce.