Thursday, January 21, 2010

Warm Delicata Squash Salad with Bacon and Toasted Pecans

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One thing I love about winter squash is that it keeps very well for weeks and because I am a very capricious cook, buying what looks fresh at the grocery store, then hoping I can get around to actually cooking with it before it loses its appeal or slowly falls into decrepitude. From the assortment of winter squash I used for my Thanksgiving centerpiece, I have made some simple purees that I have frozen for later use, plus a butternut squash yeast rustic loaf. I'm happy to say the squashes didn't end up in the garbage.

Winter squash, such as the delicata, are available from August through March, but only a few grocery stores in my area carry them after the holidays. A few weeks ago, I was in a local organic supermarket and found a large selection of winter squashes. I had to restrain from buying one of each, so only bought two delicata. With one I made soup and the second one, this extraordinary winter salad of golden roasted delicata squash slices, slightly crisp chunks of applewood smoked bacon in a sherry shallot vinaigrette drizzled on a bed of greens, then garnished with toasted Georgia pecans and paper thin shavings of Manchego cheese. This winter salad is meal in itself, but also would be a perfect accompaniment to grilled chicken, pork or beef. Serves 6 as a side dish.


When buying delicata squash or other winter squashes, choose ones that are firm and heavy for their size with unblemished skin and no signs of decay. Store in a cool place (50-60°)away from direct light. Once cut, wrap the unused pieces with plastic wrap and refrigerate where they will keep for 1-2 days.

Warm Delicata Squash Salad with Bacon and Toasted Pecans
Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques, Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table by Suzanne Goin.

1/2 cup pecan halves
6 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds delicata squash, 1 or 2 depending on size
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2/3 pound 3/8-inch thick sliced applewood smoked bacon
3 tablespoons quality sherry vinegar- Columela Vinagre de Jerez
8 ounces arugula, cleaned
1/4 cup sliced shallots
1/4 pound hunk Manchego cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375° F. Spread pecans on a baking sheet and toast 8-10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned and smell nutty, but not burned. Toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of salt. Turn oven temperature up to 425°.

Cut squash in half and remove seeds and stringy bits. There's no need to peel. Cut the squash lengthwise into 3/4 inch slices.
Toss the squash slices with 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, some pepper and the fresh thyme. Place squash flat on a baking sheet and roast about 20 minutes, until tender.
While the squash is roasting, cut the bacon into 3/8-inch rectangles-set aside. In a bowl, whisk together the sherry vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Heat a large saute pan over high heat for 1 minutes. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes, until the bacon begins to brown. Lower the heat to medium, add shallots, and toss to combine. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vinaigrette to warm the mixture.
To serve as a tossed salad. Place arugula greens in a large bowl. Add the warm squash and contents of the pan to the greens. Arrange half on a large platter. Use a vegetable peeler to shave some of the Manchego cheese over the salad and sprinkle half the nuts over the mixture. Top with remaining salad, more cheese and the rest of the nuts. Alternatively, you can create a layered salad by first placing a layer of greens on a platter. Arrange squash over the greens, top with some of the bacon vinaigrette, shaved cheese and nuts. Repeat layers.

5 comments:

Kayte said...

Oh, I love squash also, this looks delightfully good! Thanks for posting, I can't see a reason in the world not to try this one.

Shandy said...

Your salad looks delicious and the winter delicata squash sounds perfect. Love your photos!

Mei Teng said...

wow...that is one great looking salad.

Sometimes when I don't feel like having heavy meaty meals, salads with grilled chicken and bacon bits work just fine.

scotbrit said...

That looks great!

SKC said...

hello lynne,

I also love photographing food! I recently started a vegan baking and lifestyle, etc. blog which I do almost all of the photography for. Your images are beautiful!

i am skc-pinkgrapefruit.blogspot.com if you're interested.

your new follower,
S

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