We spent the long weekend in New Hampshire and, yup, it’s definitely fall. As if you couldn’t tell by: a) the calendar; b) the leaves; and c) the mounting winter squash situation. Gourd after gourd after gourd after gourd…
I know you’re sick of hearing me complain about squash every fall, but, the truth is, I’ve developed a bit of a soft spot for squash. Call me sentimental. The secret, of course, is to find some recipes you really like. I’m partial to my super-simple butternut squash bisque I contributed to Yankee Magazine some years back. But in case you’re not willing to give in to soup season quite so soon, here’s a nice salad that eases the transition between summer and winter. Not only does it use the last of your local lettuce and the beginnings of your winter squash, but it also features nuts, cranberries, blue cheese, bacon, and a tangy honey-sweetened dressing, making it possible to source most of the ingredients locally around here.
More about the fabulous cookbook from whence this recipe came in my next post. But I’ll give you a hint: the local author writes a great food blog called Poor Girl Gourmet!
Harvest Salad with Honey-Balsamic Dressing
I substituted local blue cheese for the Gorgonzola and locally foraged black walnuts for the hazelnuts (more on the black walnuts later).
2-lb. acorn squash
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
¼ cup honey
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups (5 oz.) mixed baby greens, lettuce, or arugula
½ cup hazelnuts
¼ cup dried cranberries
4 slices of bacon
¼ cup Gorgonzola, crumbled
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise, pole to pole. Remove and discard the seeds, and then cut each half crosswise into ½-inch-wide slices such that you have a lovely ripple effect from the ridges of the squash. In a large bowl, mix together ¼ cup olive oil and brown sugar. Add the squash and toss to coat, seasoning with salt and pepper. Transfer squash to 9 by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet, and bake, turning halfway through cooking time, about 30 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. Let cool 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together honey, mustard, and balsamic vinegar. Whisk in ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil until well blended. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Fry bacon until crispy, let cool on paper towels, and crumble. Toast hazelnuts in dry frying pan 5-10 minutes, tossing frequently to prevent scorching, until lightly golden and fragrant. Remove to plate to cool.
To arrange salad, place one quarter of the mixed greens on each of four plates. Divide up the squash, nuts, cranberries, bacon, and cheese among the four salads, and drizzle a tablespoon or two of the dressing on top. Serves 4.
Source: Adapted from Poor Girl Gourmet by Amy McCoy
Local Businesses Supported:
Squash, lettuce, arugula: Waltham Fields Community Farm, Waltham, MA
Honey: Reseska Apiaries, Holliston, MA
Dijon mustard: Raye’s Mustard, Eastport, ME
Bacon, black walnuts: Codman Farm, Lincoln, MA
Cheese: Jasper Hill Farm, Greensboro, VT