by Alice Correia Morton
The supermarket ‘reduced to clear’ section can be a treacherous place. Away from the bright lights of the aisles, unpacked in the kitchen, the purchased bargains can baffle. Foods thrown together by virtue of impending use-by dates don’t always lead to the most appetising of meals. But with the help of a few store-cupboard essentials and the odd fresh (but basic) ingredient, I’ll be putting together some pretty edible recipes featuring the regulars of Oxford’s reduced food scene.
The key ingredients for this recipe are lasagne-style sheets of butternut squash (39p reduced from £1.20 for about 8), hot smoked salmon pieces (£2 reduced from £4.20), and chives (20p reduced from 75p). The media’s push for January healthy eating and current demonisation of processed carbohydrates (such as pasta) has swelled the supermarkets’ stock of vegetable alternatives, which often end up reduced. So if there are no butternut squash sheets there may well be similar made from courgette, sweet potato etc. These substitutions would work equally well, bearing in mind that softer vegetables will require less time in the oven. Salmon doesn’t need to be of the smoked variety and could even be replaced by tinned tuna. However, if not using smoked add a large pinch of salt to the sauce. Parsley would work if chives are unavailable or you could go without.
(Leftover butternut squash sheets can become homemade vegetable crisps: cut up into smaller squares. Drizzle, brush, or toss with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and your dried herb of choice. Bake at 190C for 30 minutes, turning them halfway through.)
1 tin/box chopped tomatoes
1/2 a leek or 1 medium onion (preferably white)
1/2 red pepper
1 large clove garlic
knob of butter
1 packet hot smoked salmon pieces
1 packet butternut squash lasagne sheets
small pot double cream
large handful of chives
generous pinch of black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Chop the leek into slim discs (or finely dice the onion). Mince the garlic clove. Chop the red pepper. Chop the chives, reserving a few to garnish.
- Melt butter in a medium/large frying pan on a medium heat.
- Soften the leeks (or onions) in the butter, adding a splash of water after a few minutes to help them steam. When the leeks are getting soft add the garlic and the red pepper.
- Cook for a couple more minutes then add 2/3 of the chopped tomatoes (or all if you have a large dish to fill).
- Simmer for 5-10 minutes until the tomato begins to look more like sauce and less like it’s fresh out the can.
- Stir through the salmon, the pepper and the chopped chives. Turn off the heat.
- In an ovenproof dish layer the sauce with the butternut squash, starting and finishing with the sauce.
- Drizzle with double cream.
- Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until you can poke a fork through the squash easily, and before the top is too brown.