Saturday, January 16, 2010

harvest salad

wow, it's been a while since i've posted. sorry for the radio silence. there really isn't an excuse, but the holidays and work were busy, and the blog just got away from me. i'll be better...promise.

that said, i'd like to present you with a recipe for a wonderful little salad. easy to make, and very hearty. it's full of all of the delicious flavors of fall and winter and will leave you and your loved ones feeling satisfied despite the fact that it is vegetarian and, well, a salad.

one large package of baby spinach leaves, washed (yes, again)
1 large butternut squash, peeled, cored, and cut into 1" cubes
4 ounces of pine nuts
3 ounces of goat cheese
1 chipotle in adobe (see notes for storing the rest of the can), chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced fine
3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, plus more for butternut
salt and pepper to taste

line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment and preheat the oven to 350.

peel, core, and cut up the butternut into 1" cubes. toss with some olive oil and salt and pepper to taste and transfer to the baking sheet. bake for 20 minutes (or until the butternut is soft, but not yet browned). remove from the oven and set aside.

toast the pine nuts in a small pan over medium high heat until they begin to brown and they smell deeply nutty. set aside.

wash the spinach and add to a large bowl.

i use the mini food processor attachment for my immersion blender to make the dressing, and it works like a charm. if you don't have one of these, you can do it the old fashioned way by mincing the chipolte very fine, mincing the garlic very fine and adding these, along with the vinegar to a small bowl. very slowly stream in the olive oil and whisk while you do. eventually everything will all come together, and this is called an emulsion. in a food processor, just add all of the ingredients and whizz. either way, add salt and pepper to taste.

toss the spinach leaves in the dressing and then plate. top each plate with crumbled goat cheese, the toasted pine nuts, and a generous amount of the roasted butternut squash. enjoy!

to store the remaining chipotles, put them into a ziploc baggie and press all of the air out. then pop this into the freezer...when you need more, they will be there.

this salad is spicy and sweet, and very good for you. it serves two as a main course and four as a starter or side dish.

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