This beautiful Barefoot Contessa recipe is perfect for the holidays. If you are hosting vegetarians, this can serve as a satisfying main course as well. I put her exact recipe below, but I actually made a few slight changes. I used about 1/4 cup olive oil instead of 1/2 cup. Also, I forgot to put the cranberries in the oven, so I just added them raw. To toast the walnuts, I put them in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, tossing occasionally.
Peeling a dicing a raw butternut squash is not on my list of favorite activities. However, super sharp knives help to do the trick. We recently got our knives sharpened by the good people at A Cook’s Companion. It was long overdue, and I am so glad we did it. It made the dicing process a whole lot easier.
- 1 (1 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled and 3/4-inch diced
- Good olive oil
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
- 3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 4 ounces baby arugula, washed and spun dry
- 1/2 cup walnuts halves, toasted
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.
- While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
- Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
This is a beautiful special occasion salad, and our special occasion was that it was Wednesday. I think there is a certain irony to a salad that includes “fried” and “candied” in the title, and I couldn’t resist it. I used beets and Boston lettuce from this week’s CSA share. Thanks to sophistimom for the great recipe, which I adapted a only a little bit.
For the beets:
- 2 beets, scrubbed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
For the candied walnuts:
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
For the fried goat cheese:
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1 1/2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
- Oil for frying
Greens and Dressing:
- 1 head Boston Bibb lettuce (0r any other greens)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Prepare the beets:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Top with a piece of parchment paper. Place beets on parchment paper, drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap paper and aluminum foil around the beets and bake for 60-90 minutes, or until beets are tender. Let cool completely. Then, cut into 1/4 inch slices and divide each slice into fourths. Meanwhile, lower the oven to 325 and get going with the walnuts:
Prepare the Candied Walnuts:
- Mix together the walnuts and maple syrup until evenly coated. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Make a single layer with the walnuts, and heat for 20-25 minutes, flipping once during cooking.
- Allow to cool, and then roughly chop the walnuts.
Prepare the Fried Goat Cheese: (NOTE: You will want the cheese to be warm, so you can compile the whole salad, and save the second step below for last.)
- Mix cheese with lemon zest, parmesan, thyme, and salt and pepper until well blended. Roll cheese mixture into quarter-sized patties. Freeze for about 20 minutes. Roll in egg, and coat with Panko.
- Heat oil in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan on medium heat. When you put the cheese in the saucepan it should start bubbling immediately. Flip them after 10-15 seconds, and cook on the other side for 10-15 seconds. The cheese should be golden brown.
Prepare the greens and vinaigrette:
- Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss with the greens.
Compile the Salad:
- Layer the greens and vinaigrette, followed by the beets, walnuts and then goat cheese. Enjoy!