I don't know about you, but Fall feels more special after Halloween. It almost feels like we get a second chance at it. I think it's because so much time and energy is focused on candies, desserts, spooky crafts and projects up to October 31st, that little time is spent admiring Fall's spectacular fruits and vegetables . . . ruby red pomegranates, deep purple eggplants, plump cranberries, squash of all colors and shapes, and pear & apple varieties only seen THIS time of year.
So now is the time . . . take notice of Fall's delights at your local farmer's markets, and better yet ~ add them to your lunch, dinner, and dessert menus.
Here's a delicious and light salad full of wonderful flavors . . . warm, lightly sweetened roasted butternut squash, tart cranberries, candied walnuts and salty Parmesan shavings dressed are all dressed up in a wonderful Maple Mustard Vinaigrette.
A great salad to serve for lunch with your girl-friends (or family!), and it's quite lovely served with a fresh French baguette and soft butter.
I'm considering serving it as a side entree with Thanksgiving dinner, but if not, then it would certainly be a delicious entree served alongside an herb roasted chicken for dinner.
Friends, meet my new favorite salad . . . .
roasted butternut squash salad
. . . . . .
1 (1 ½-pound) butternut squash, peeled and 3/4-inch diced
good olive oil
3 cup of spinach
3 cups of arugula
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup candied walnut halves, chopped
1 large shallot finely sliced
1 cup freshly shaved Parmesan cheese
. . . . . .
maple mustard dressing
4 cloves garlic
2/3 cups pure maple syrup
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup good olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.
Saute shallot in 1 teaspoon olive oil, until tender and caramelized. Set aside.
While the squash is roasting, make the maple mustard dressing, if using. Combine garlic, mustard, syrup, vinegar, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. With the machine running, pour in oil in a slow steady stream to emulsify. You should have about 2 cups of dressing. You will not need it all for the salad. You can store the leftover dressing in the refrigerator for about two weeks.
Place the spinach and arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, shallots, and the shredded Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten, and toss well. Sprinkle with fresh shaved Parmesan, salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
~ All dressed up with shaved Parmesan ~