There comes a point in the summer that if I have to eat one more healthy, leafy green salad I want to poke my eyes out with sticks. It’s not like I’m running off to McDonald’s in search of a Big Mac and Fries. I just can’t do the healthy, leafy green salad. I’m so done and over with it.
That’s why I’m so glad when fall comes around and I’m overtaken by the desire to roast everything in sight and toss said roasted items into soups, salads, eggs, whatever. Nothing is safe when I decide I want to roast things. Brussels sprouts, carrots, butternut squash, delicata squash, mushrooms, onions. Olive oil, maybe some garlic, salt and pepper. 400 degrees. 20 minutes-ish. Done. Delicious.
Now I know the leafy green is a very important component in ones diet so one must still have a leafy green or two. That’s when you sautee kale with some olive oil and garlic and then finish it off with some balsamic vinegar. This too can be tossed into a room temp salad or perhaps that curried coconut butternut squash soup you made the other day. Oh….and then there’s the caramelized onions. Everything is better when topped with caramelized onions. Yes everything. And everyone thinks you’re some super fancy chef when you make something that’s caramelized. Little do they know.
So to combine the world of roasted veg and leafy greens I present to you Roasted Squash, Chile and Mozzarella Salad. I have been making this at least twice a week with various and sundry variations. You will love it. Your family will love it. The person who says they hate squash will love it. I have one particular friend in my, but I won’t mention names. I know she would totally love this salad.
In Portland (perhaps in other cities as well) putting an egg on any type of food item is highly encouraged. Hamburger. Salad. Chili. Whatever your heart desires. This salad in particular is good with an egg on it. Fried. Poached. Hardboiled. My goal is to get over my fear of the poached egg. A story for another time.
This particular recipe (and beautiful image) comes from the creative, wildly talented people of Kinfolk. They’ve just recently published a gloriously beautiful book The Kindfolk Table. Order it from amazon.com. Powell’s here in Portland has autographed copies. You want this book.
Roasted Squash, Chile Mozzarella Salad
2 medium delicata squash, scrubbed, sliced lengthwise, and seeded (You will become addicted to the delicata once you’ve tried it)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2-3 dried chiles, slivered* (I didn’t have any dried chilies. I know bad cook. So I just used some chili flakes. I hope that didn’t ruin the integrity of the salad. Like I really am that concerned?)
2 fresh thyme sprigs, plus more for serving (or dried works just fine too. I’m definitely not running to the store for sprigs of fresh thyme.)
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
One 8-ounce ball of buffalo mozzarella (I’ve also made this with goat cheese, gorgonzola, a bit of parm. That way you can use less cheese if you like and still get all that amazing flavor.)
4 cups arugula (If you’re not a fan of arugula, use any kind of greens you like.)
to serve: slivered scallions, herb flowers (opt.), olive oil (my plating skills have a great deal to be desired. at this point I’m too hungry to toss herb flowers over my salad.)
Preheat the oven to 400F with a rack in the center.
Slice the delicata squash into 1/2-inch thick crescents. Toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, garlic, chile, thyme, and salt. Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 20-30 minutes, or until tender. Flip the squash once along the way to ensure browning on both sides of the squash. Transfer the pan to a rack, allow to cool for a few minutes, and transfer the squash to a serving bowl or platter.
To serve, toss the arugula with the squash with a splash of olive oil. Toss until nicely coated, then pull the mozzarella ball apart, and gently toss it with the squash as well. Season with more salt if needed, and finish with some slivered scallions if you like.
Enjoy. Until next time…Moose out.
Kinfolk magazine is equally glorious as is the website. It’s a quarterly publication. Look for it at your local bookstore.
Their philosophy is simplicity, community, sharing an incredible meal with good friends. The contributers are chefs, writers, artisans, farmers, bloggers. A very special community of like minded people.