Monday, November 14, 2011

Delicata Squash and Pear Salad



Delicata Squash


A friend of a friend recently gifted us with a small stock pile of winter squash.  I cant' tell how strongly this reinforces my desire to live on a farm and grow my own.  But until that day comes, I'm grateful to enjoy the bounty of their harvest, and I hope some of you will enjoy this autumn salad.  The saltiness of the feta plays nicely off of the sweetness of the squash, and the pear and walnuts texture, juiciness, and crunch.


INGREDIENTS

One head of boston lettuce, well washed and torn into pieces*
2 small delicata squash
1 pear, cored and sliced - I used a crispy bartlett 
A handful of walnuts
Good quality feta, rinsed and drained

Basic Vinaigrette:
Olive Oil - Extra Virgin, first cold pressed is best
Lemon Juice
Apple cider vinegar - preferably raw and unpasteurized, I like Braggs
Dijon Mustard
Salt and Pepper

  • Start by roasting the squash.  The skin of these little guys is quite thin so I just took it off with a vegetable peeler.  Slice in half, scoop out the seeds, and place seed-side down in a baking dish with about a half a cup of water.  Rub with a light coating of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
  • Roast the squash at 350 for 25-40 minutes, until tender.  In hindsight, I think they would be just as good steamed if you're not firing up the oven.  I baked these while I was baking something else, then used them after they'd had a chance to cool.


  • While the squash is baking, mix up your dressing**
  • When the squash is tender, chop it coarsely and allow it to cool a bit.
  • Now you can either 
    1. Toss everything in a big bowl and dress it before dividing into serving bowls or
    2. Arrange the lettuce, walnuts, and feta in individual bowls.  Top with the roasted squash and pear slices, and serve with the dressing on the side.

Serves 2 people/squash



* I don't know if this is always the case with boston lettuce, or if I just got a particularly gritty head, but be careful to really wash it, especially at the base of the leaves.  There's nothing like biting into a bit of sand to turn you off of a dish.  
** I never measure when I make dressing, so I didn't measure to make a recipe for you.  I like a really tart dressing and lean heavy on the vinegar, but plenty of people like something milder.  A general guideline is 1:3 olive oil to acid (including the lemon and vinegar).  Throw it all in a bottle that you can shake, or whisk it together in a bowl.  I use about a tsp of mustard and usually throw in some additional herbs.  If you want it to homogenize, throw in a few drops of honey.

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