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Autumn Salad

Impress your guests with your fall favorites in a perfectly composed salad.



Autumn Salad

Prep time: 30 minutes. Cook time: 45 minutes. Yields: 8 servings


Ingredients

3 large baking apples such as Gala or Honey Crisp

1 large (1 lb) delicata squash, peeled

2 lb kale, washed and stems removed

1 lb radicchio (softball sized)

1 cup pecan halves

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup craisins

4 ounces of firm gorgonzola, cubed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Juice of half a lemon

Extra virgin olive oil for roasting


Dressing

1 tablespoon shallot, finely diced

2 tablespoons of boiled cider (Optional - go with half the honey and vinegar if you have the boiled cider)

4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375°. While oven preheats, place pecans and pumpkin seeds on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Roast them in preheating oven until fragrant, for 10-15 minutes (including preheat time). Transfer nuts to a large salad bowl to cool.


2. Peel delicata squash, slice in half lengthwise, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and slice into 1/2" half moons.


3. Place squash moons into a bowl, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Transfer the squash to a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet.


4. Peel and dice apples into 1/2" cubes. Place into same bowl that the squash was in, squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.

5. Transfer the apples to a second lined baking sheet. Pop the baking trays into the 375° oven and roast for 15 minutes. Rotate the trays and roast for 10-15 minutes more until tender. The apples may finish first, so keep an eye on them. Set aside to cool.


6. While the squash and apples roast, prepare the dressing. To a jar, add 1 tablespoon minced shallot, 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 1/3 cup evoo. Cover and shake until thoroughly mixed/emulsified.


7. Tear the washed kale and radicchio and place into the bowl with the nuts and seeds. Add the crasins. Before adding the cooled apples, squash and cheese, pour the dressing over the salad. With clean hands, massage the dressing into the leaves (yes, you read that correctly). This helps to tenderize the kale.


8. Once massaged, add the cubed gorgonzola, squash and apples. Toss gently and enjoy.


Tips

  • Boiled cider is almost like syrupy, aged balsamic vinegar, except it's made with sweet apple cider that's been reduced to that same consistency. If you don't have it, simply follow the instructions above. If you do find it, you can halve the honey and apple cider vinegar in the recipe.


  • I like to multitask in the kitchen. While the oven preheats, we toast the nuts. While the nuts toast, we peel the squash and apples. While the squash and apples bake, we prepare the dressing, etc. You get the idea. Always multitask while in the kitchen, it makes things go by more quickly!


  • When tearing the kale, you can easily, grab it by the stem, turn it upside down and pull the leaves in a downward motion off the stems. The stems are too firm for the salad but yoi can save them for stock, pickling or boiling.


  • Radicchio is a bitter green, if you can't find it, you can substitute endive, but the bitterness helps balance out the sweetness from the crasins and honey.


  • You can swap out butternut for the delicata or asian pear for the apple. You'll want firm squash and apples that will hold up to the roasting.



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