This time of the year, I love eating winter squash. Delicata, Kabocha, Acorn, Spaghetti and other squash are abundant in the autumn and into the winter. They can be roasted, stewed, simmered, steamed.. you name it. When roasting, you can leave the skin intact because it’s edible (I don’t recommend eating butternut squash skin – to me it tastes bitter). Because you will eat the skin, you should be sure to wash these babies well before you start cooking.
The simplest way to roast squash is to cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, add some butter and spices and roast it. For this recipe, I cut the Delicata squash into rings and scooped out the seeds to give it a different look.
But the real inspiration for this recipe is a single pomegranate. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, right? Well in this case, life gave me one homegrown pomegranate. We planted a pomegranate tree in our front yard several years ago and it has been really slow to start yielding fruit (our friend Michael tells us the at least 3 years must pass). After those 3 years, we got only one fruit which disappeared after a while (squirrels or raccoons we think).
This year we were up to 4 but only one survived the animal kingdom known as L.A.! Next year we plan to spray the fruit with a Tabasco sauce and water mixture which we’ve learned deters these urban predators. So this recipe is really about a single piece of fruit that inspired a salad. Once I rescued it from the tree, I decided to combine the seeds from the pomegranate with a sweet Delicata squash to create this simple winter salad.
Enjoy this dish as a simple main course or as a side dish to some nice roasted fish or meat.Print
- One large delicata squash. washed thoroughly
- 2–4 sprigs fresh rosemary, stripped and leave finely chopped
- Loose leaf lettuce (or arugula) of your choice enough to fill your serving plan, torn into bite-sized pieces, washed and dried
- Pomegranate seeds
- Toasted pine nuts (or other nut such as chopped pistachio) See Note #1
- 4 mint sprigs, leaves removed
- Good quality balsamic vinegar
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
Prepare the squash:
- Pre-heat oven to 400 ℉. Prepare a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
- Prepare the squash by cutting off the ends and then slicing it into ½-inch slices widthwise. Try to cut the squash as consistently wide as possible so they cook evenly.
- Spoon out the seeds from each ring. Discard the seeds. The skin on this type of squash if edible and delicious!
- Place the rings in a medium-bowl, add the finely chopped rosemary and 1-2 tbsps of olive oil. Add a generous pinch of salt. Toss the rings to coat adding more rosemary or oil as needed.
- Lay out the squash on the lined sheet pan without any overlapping pieces.
- Roast in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until the pieces become golden brown on the bottom-side. Then flip over and roast for another 5-10 minutes. Be sure the check the squash as they cook.
- When done remove the squash to a plate or board so they stop cooking. Let them cool to room temperature.
Prepare the salad:
- Set out your serving plate.
- In a clean bowl, add the lettuce or greens and coat with olive oil to taste. Add salt to your liking. Distribute the salad on the serving plate.
- Top the salad with roasted squash rings.
- Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the salad and then top with the toasted pine nuts and pomegranate seeds
- Sprinkle with the mint leaves and serve.
Note #1: To toast pine nuts other other chopped nuts, place a small dry frying pan over low heat. Add the nuts and swirl them in the pan every 15-seconds or so. Don’t leave them along as they can burn quickly. When you begin to smell the aroma of the toasting nuts and they start to brown, remove the immediate to a flat plate and spread them out. This immediately stops the cooking.