Posted by: CJW | January 3, 2011

Delicata Squash Salad

Happy New Year! I don’t know about you but with all the cooking and eating that goes on during the holidays, I tend to suffer from food fatigue. I can’t seem to get excited about talking or thinking about food. But like the bright sun that’s been shining here in Seattle for the last few days after a cold and rainy holiday, I’m back and ready to pick up things with this blog again. Let’s start by talking about this delicata squash salad.

Anyone who knows me personally or reads this blog regularly should know by now that I am not a fan of winter squashes. I like their taste fine enough, I suppose, but it’s just so much trouble trying to cut through their thick skins and painstakingly scrape out the seeds and strings that often, I’m just not sure if it’s worth it in the end. However, if you remind me that roasted squash often involves butter, delicious spices like cinnamon and cardamom, and pairs nicely with a variety of cheeses, well, then you can get me to take on the effort of prepping it.

With a bulk share from the CSA that gave us 6 little delicata squash, I wanted to find a new way to eat them other than making soup. The CSA also gave us a beautiful bunch of rainbow chard and a little head of radicchio. I thought about how warm pieces of roasted squash would contrast nicely with these crisp, slightly bitter greens which would be hearty enough to not wilt and stay crunchy. I roasted the squash, rinsed the greens and made a light dressing with apple juice and cider-like spices to add sweetness and pair with the nutty squash. As if that wasn’t enough, I added some toasted pecans and chunks of tangy blue cheese. With its bright, bold colors, warm and nutty squash mixed with hearty winter greens, this salad would be the perfect meal for anyone giving a good shot at a New Year’s resolution of healthy eating. (Don’t worry– I’m sure there will be something unhealthy posted here in the next few weeks by the time you fall off the wagon.)

Salad

  • 2 small delicata squash, halved, seeded, and cut cross wise into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, mixed with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 bunch rainbow chard, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small head radicchio, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans
  • blue cheese to taste

Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons apple juice
  • 5 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • juice of half a lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the squash slices in the melted butter and olive oil mix. Sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper along with the cinnamon, cardamom, and ground cloves. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until tender and lightly browned, flipping the pieces over after half the cooking time has elapsed. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.

While squash cooks, wash and spin dry the chard, radicchio, and spinach leaves. Whisk together the dressing ingredients, adjusting seasoning to taste. Plate the mixed greens and add a few slices of still warm, roasted squash to each plate before drizzling with dressing and topping with pecans and cheese. Makes 4 side salads or 2 entrée salads.

CSA Count: 3

Delicata squash, rainbow chard, radicchio

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