One of my friends suggested that this should be called “Hello Fall, I love you” salad, and I think she is right. With roasted butternut squash, fresh pomegranate seeds, toasted pecans, and gruyere cheese, this salad epitomizes several of my favorite flavors of the season. Pomegranates are in season now (so is squash), and I use them in just about everything that I can. All of these flavors are pretty distinct, but complement each other very well in this dish. The butternut squash is the mildest of the flavors, but adds a nice mellowness to the salad. I love pairing pomegranates with the squash here. Pomegranate seeds have a really bright tart flavor that adds a little punch of zing, let alone a gorgeous contribution of color that makes this salad just appear warm and bright. They really do shine like little jewels on the plate.
These flavors can work in other dishes besides a salad – for example this morning we made a hash with the butternut squash, spinach, some bacon, eggs, and pomegranate - simple and quick, yet perfect.
Pomegranates can be a bit umm..messy to open up though. I recommend slowly breaking apart pieces of the pomegranate with your hands, rather than just slicing straight in, which is the most surefire way to get bright red juice everywhere, like below – Who dunnit?
Mr. Pomegranate in the kitchen with a knife!
Ha sorry, I know it’s corny, but I just couldn’t resist…..I used to love that board game as a little kid lol. I’m titling this photo “Death by pomegranate” ….but yumm that blood red juice is delicious! This is one of the few photos where I was actually intending for that grainy look, which I got by shooting with a very low f-stop so that only the tip of the knife was in focus, having a high ISO and then applying reduce noise in photoshop to smooth out the grainyness a bit. I’m a bit unhappy thought hat it is a bit dark. I haven’t been able to set up my tripod yet, so longer exposure times are going to have to wait until next week…
For the Salad (for 4) -
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
One pomegranate, deseeded
1 butternut squash, peeled deseeded and chopped into bite size pieces
salt, pepper, evoo
1 c. pecans
2 oz. gruyere cheese, shredded
For the Dressing:
4 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs. pomegranate juice
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs. lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place squash on a baking pan and generously salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for at least 30 min, until tender (i.e. you can eat it with a fork).
2. Lay out pecans on a baking sheet, and broil until toasted. On “lo” broil, this is around 5 minutes. Check often and take care not to burn them. When they are done you will know by taste though, as they will be only slightly browned but will no longer taste “raw”.
3. To make the dressing, combine dressing ingredients together and vigorously whisk together.
4. Assemble each plate with lettuce, squash, pecans, cheese, and pomegranate seeds, top with dressing. Enjoy!