Thursday, April 18, 2013

Butternut Squash Salad with Blueberries and Walnuts

Jeff grilled the squash on the Weber along with a pork tenderloin and it came out pretty darned good. The squash is sweet and tender, the arugula is spicy, and the walnuts add crunch. The salad is a spin (excuse the pun) on an Ina Garten recipe, which called for dried, sweetened cranberries (read: cane sugar) so I sprinkled some blueberries on it instead, since they're kind of sweet and tart at the same time - wish I'd thought of them before I took the picture! It's a match made in heaven! [I'm sure someone somewhere has thought of this combination before, but for right now, I'm having a 'moment'.] Serves 4-6

1 butternut squash, about 1 lb, skin on, cut in half lengthwise, seeds scooped out
1/2 c EVOO plus extra for cooking the squash
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
Arugula lettuce
1/4 c blueberries
3/4 c sparkling apple cider or apple juice (not from concentrate, no sugar added)
2 TB apple cider vinegar
2 TB shallots, minced
2 tsp original Dijon mustard, or Colman's reconstitued (2 tsp dry mustard + 2 tsp cold water, mix & let sit 10 min)
1/2 c walnut halves, toasted in a dry pan or in the toaster oven

If you are cooking the squash on the grill, lightly brush the cut side with a dab of EVOO and grill about 10 minutes on each side, until it's fork-tender. Remove to a plate and let cool enough to handle. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin and then cut into bite-sized pieces.

If you're roasting the squash in the oven, preheat to 400*F, peel and cut the squash into 3/4" cubes, toss with EVOO, salt & pepper. Roast the squash for about 20 minutes until fork-tender, turning once halfway through cooking.

While the squash is cooking, make the dressing. Bring the cider, vinegar and shallots to a boil over medium-high heat in a small saucier or saucepan and reduce to about 1/4 c. Remove from heat, whisk in the mustard, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1/2 c EVOO. Taste & correct seasonings.

Put the arugula, squash, walnuts and blueberries in a large bowl and toss with just enough dressing to lightly coat. If you use your hands to toss the salad you'll need less dressing and the squash won't get - well, squashed, by tongs. Sprinkle with a little salt & pepper.

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