Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Autumn Arugula Salad with Fennel, Apple and Delicata Squash - Caity

An October without a trip to the pumpkin patch is a sad October in my opinion. Yes, you could go to the grocery store and struggle to get your large pumpkin out of the bin while some jerk steals your cart as you say "Oh um... that's actually my cart" and he says "Doesn't look like it" as he continues taking your cart, leaving you struggling with the heavy awkward pumpkin.  Sigh... Apparently I'm still not over it. Pumpkin patches, on the other hand, are great places where you can feast on roasted corn while enjoying a nice cold beer and casually peruse the pumpkin selection before taking a hay ride back to your car. 

The  Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie's Island sports a small market where you (or your friend's 5 year old daughter, Lily) can select all sorts of squash you didn't know you needed. Lily chose me a lovely little delicata squash which I am happy to say, was put to good use in this Autumn Arugula Salad.

I have complained for years that I cannot make a decent salad. The idea seemed so simple but I could never master it. Some people (my mom in particular) just throw the fridge leftovers on a bed of lettuce and it turns out amazing. I was not born with this talent! I have improved with much practice and this recipe for Autumn Arugula Salad is my golden child. I created it one day when I threw it together AND I actually liked it! I love the balance of the savory delicata squash, the crunch of the fresh fennel and sweet apple.  

Even if you think you don't like fennel, I urge you to please try it, sliced thinly, in this salad! Try serving with Peruvian Style Roasted Chicken and Orzo with Parmesan and Basil or with Butternut Squash and Sage Soup for a lighter meal

Notes from October 2016: I am still loving this salad a year later! I have made a few "this is what I have in my fridge changes" lately that I wanted to share with you. I love adding a handful of sliced lacinato kale into the arugula! And when I don't have pomegranate syrup on hand, I have used IKEA's lingonberry jam instead and results have been great! 

Serves 4-5

what you'll need: 

for the salad
5 oz. baby arugula
1 small delicata squash
1/2 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/4 apple, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 Tbsp. crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese
2 Tbsp. pepitas or other seeds 

for the dressing
1 large shallot, finely minced
1 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses (if you can't buy this, make your own here) or see alt. suggestions above
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the dressing: 

In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients except the extra virgin olive oil. When you are ready to serve the salad, whisk in the olive oil. 

For the salad:

Slice the ends of the squash. Slice into 1/2 inch rings and remove the seeds with a spoon.

Lightly salt and pepper the squash rings. In a small pan, heat a small amount of oil and fry the squash rings for about 5 minutes per side.  

Remove to clean paper towels to allow to dry. Slice once to create half circles.

Combine the arugula, delicata squash rings, apple cubes, and sliced fennel. Toss with several tablespoons of the Pomegranate Dressing. 

Crumble the goat cheese over the top of the salad and sprinkle with pepitas. Serve immediately. 

Four years ago: Caprese Salad, Orzo with Parmesan and Basil, Tomato Focaccia

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