Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

I found this recipe in a Costco magazine I received during the holidays.  I’ve made the salad two or three times and it is a keeper.  It can stand alone as a meal, or add your favorite protein.  I’ve served the salad different ways and can’t decide if I like it better with grilled salmon or shrimp.  Try it and let me know what you think.

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 3/4 – inch pieces

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs honey

1 tsp coarse sea salt

Mixed field greens (I use a 5 oz container of spring mix)

3/4 cup pomegranate seeds

3/4 cup walnut halves, lightly toasted

3/4 cup blue cheese crumbles

For the Pomegranate Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup pomegranate juice

1 small shallot, minced

2 Tbs red wine vinegar

1 Tbs honey

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss cubed butternut squash, olive oil, and honey in a baggie until squash is coated.  Spread squash on a foil lined baking sheet, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and pepper.  Roast squash for 15 – 20 minutes until tender and golden brown around the edges.

For the vinaigrette, place pomegranate juice and minced shallot in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, then reduce flame to a simmer until reduced to about 1/4 cup liquid.  Whisk in red wine vinegar, honey, and olive oil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  (Note: the second time I made this vinaigrette I accidentally mixed all the ingredients together before heating.  I simply warmed the pre-mixed vinaigrette in the saucepan until it reduced slightly and it turned out fine.) Allow to cool.

To serve, place salad greens in a large mixing bowl. Add the roasted butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, toasted walnuts, and crumbled blue cheese.  Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten; toss well.

Makes 6 servings.

P.S. Look for pre-seeded pomegranate seeds at  your grocery store.  I was lucky enough to find these last week.  Seeding a pomegranate isn’t difficult, but the juice will stain! So be careful and expect pink fingertips!

If you need inspiration for the pomegranate juice you’ll have left over, try the Pomegranate Steak I made a while back.  Serve the steak one night and the Roasted Butternut Squash Salad (with left over steak) the next!

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Steak with Mixed Peppercorns & Pomegranate Glaze

The November 2009 issue of Bon Appetit presents Steak with Mixed Peppercorns & Pomegranate Glaze (on page 56 if you want to follow along) as Fast, Easy & Fresh.  As a side bar the magazine hints that it’s a quick dinner party dish too.  I can tell you it’s true.  Delish. And deceptively easy.

I don’t usually gravitate to steak recipes.  I mean, how hard can fixin’ steak be, right? And when you have the world’s best Cowboy Steak rub, there tends to be little reason to stray.  But, I was intrigued by the pepper and pomegranate, so I gave Bon Appetit’s recipe a whirl.

The trick to pulling this recipe off is to NOT make the blunder I did.

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If you buy really expensive, organic mixed peppercorns with a special grinder, please don’t let the bottle slip out of your hand and spill half its contents all over the floor.  It’s just not a good way to kick off your cooking.

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If you were my children this is when I would say something pithy like, “Do as I say, not as I do”.

Let’s start over, shall we? Here’s Bon Appetit’s recipe:

Steak with Mixed Peppercorns & Pomegranate Glaze

1 (1/4 lb) sirloin steak

Peppercorn mix, coarsely ground

1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

2 1/2 tsp olive oil, divided

1 cup pomegranate juice

4 tsp (packed) brown sugar

2 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar, divided

4 cups arugula

And here’s how I followed:

I poured a glass of red wine which helped restore that peaceful, easy feeling I had before I lost my peppercorns. I also cranked up iTunes (the Eagles must have been playing).

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I love rosemary so I’m sure I used more than called for in the recipe.

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I seasoned a slightly larger steak (1 1/2 lb) with peppercorns, rosemary, and salt.  In a hot skillet with olive oil, I seared the seasoned steak.

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We like steak medium-well around the Cafe, so I seared the meat about 6 minutes per side.

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While the meat was resting (after all that hard work), I made the quick and easy glaze. I used a Pomegranate-Blueberry Juice because it was 1/2 the cost as pure pom.  Plus, I love blueberries. This actually proved to be a really good call and the flavor of the blueberry was a distinct bonus.

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I added the juice, brown sugar, 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar to the skillet and stirred the mixture into the juices from the steak.

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Boil the juice, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced to a thick glaze, about 5 minutes.

In a bowl, toss remaining 1 tsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp of balsamic vinegar and salad.  I think straight up arugula is too strong, so I used a mix of baby spinach and arugula.

Slice the steak and arrange on mixed salad. Enjoy!

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