Food & Wine (November 2009)
So we've begun our Thanksgiving "auditions," trying out recipes for the big day.
We were drawn to this Fall Harvest Salad for a two main reasons. First -- obviously -- it sounded amazing: fresh autumn greens, roasted butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, pecans. What's not to love?
Second, though, this salad was kind of a redux for us. A second chance.
See, we'd made our Spiced Pumpkin, Lentil and Goat Cheese Salad a couple weeks ago. We were underwhelmed, and we learned one extremely valuable lesson: Some pumpkins are for eating and some are just for show.
This Fall Harvest Salad was similar (minus the lentils and cheese, of course). But this time, the flavors were spot on! The sweet roasted squash is, for us, a quintessential taste of autumn. And the salad gets a double-dose of crunchy texture from the pecans and the roasted pumpkin seeds.
Starting your Thanksgiving dinner with a salad is, we think, a great idea. For one thing, it's a nice way for guests to ease into the meal without diving head first into a vat of potatoes and gravy.
It's also great to have a first course that can be made ahead of time. We actually roasted this squash a day in advance, so assembling the salad is a snap. Salad also gives your guests something to eat while you're frantically running around the kitchen finishing up last-minute cooking.
So think about making a salad this Thanksgiving -- and if you do, definitely plan on making this one!
Fall Harvest Salad
Food & Wine (November 2009)
Subscribe to Food & Wine
(This photo: Food & Wine)
• ACTIVE: 25 MIN
• TOTAL TIME: 40 MIN
• SERVINGS: 10 to 12 servings
• 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, preferably peanut
• 2 cups peeled butternut squash (10 ounces), cut into 1-inch cubes
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
• 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped tarragon
• 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 10 ounces mixed salad greens or mesclun
• 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
• 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the squash in an even layer, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Turn the squash cubes and cook over moderately low heat until browned on the other side and just tender, about 7 minutes.
2. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar with the tarragon, parsley and the remaining 5 tablespoons of oil; season the dressing with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss the salad greens with the pecans, pumpkin seeds and roasted squash. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Serve the salad right away.
The dressing can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 hours. The cooked squash can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before using in the salad.