Thursday, December 24, 2009

Roasted butternut squash salad mash-up

This fall one of my favorite episodes of Fox’s high school musical dramedy “Glee” was the “Mash-up.” During the episode, glee instructor Will helps Emma, the school’s guidance counselor, create a mash-up of “The Thong Song” and “I Could Have Danced All Night” for her wedding to football coach Ken. Emma rightly wants the later to be their wedding song, and Ken… well, he wants to get jiggy on the dance floor to Sisqo. Note for the uninformed: We don’t like Ken and Emma together. And neither does Emma. Or Will, for that matter. Because Emma belongs with Will, and Will belongs with Emma – even if she is a neurotic germaphobe who carries antibacterial wipes in her purse.

Did I mention I love Emma?

Anyway, so Will is doing his darndest to make “The Thong Song” and “I Could Have Dance All Night” work, because, even though he doesn’t quite realize it yet, he is gaga for Emma and her antibacterial wipes. Only problem? The two songs are not meant to be mashed-up – just like (metaphor alert!) Emma and Ken are not meant to be mashed-up together in holy matrimony. Or in any situation, really. (Sweaty football uniforms do not pair well with fine knits.)

Unlike Emma and Ken (and their favorite songs), this recipe that mashes-up Ina Garten’s roasted butternut squash salad with warm cider vinaigrette and True Food Kitchen’s harvest chopped salad with butternut squash, apples, walnuts, goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette does work. Especially since I made the executive decision to add quinoa to the mix.

Did I mention I love quinoa? And this recipe, which may just be my favorite mash-up of the year.

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad Mash-up
Adapted from Ina Garten
Serves 2 entree servings or 4 side servings

½ butternut squash, peeled, diced into ½ inch cubes
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
1 small pink lady or honey crisp apple, cut into slivers (if using larger apple, use only half)
½ cup quinoa, cooked according to package instructions
¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
2 cups arugula
2 shallots, thinly sliced
Goat cheese
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Apple Cider Vinaigrette
½ cup apple juice or cider
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons shallots, finely minced
Salt, pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Toss cubed butternut squash with 1 tablespoon maple syrup and salt and pepper. Roast with sliced shallots for approximately 20 minutes or until tender. Add walnuts to the pan for the last five minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare dressing. Combine apple juice, cider vinegar, shallots in small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced. Turn off the heat, whisk in the mustard, salt and pepper. (I omitted olive oil from original recipe because my butt doesn't mash well with excess oil.)

While dressing, squash, shallots and prepared quinoa are still warm, combine with other ingredients – arugula, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, apple slivers. Plate and top with crumbled goat cheese.


Anna A. said...

yum!!! looks like a version Native Foods makes too, except they use kobacha. Good stuff TALF! Merry xmas!

LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! said...

a salad mash-up.. brilliant, I would have never thought to combine two such similar ingredients but it really looks delish! happy holidays diana =)