[posted by Joan]
When visiting son Harlan last month, he told me about a dish he has been making with butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, aged cheese, and toasted nuts. I have been meaning to try it out, and finally had that chance today. As usual, I adapted it based on what I had on hand. This worked well as I was in the process of emptying my refrigerator to get it ready for a new one due to arrive shortly.
Here is how Harlan made it. He diced a butternut squash and roasted it with olive oil and salt. After it roasted, he browned a little butter, stirred in some maple syrup, and tossed the squash in that mixture. He cubed an aged gouda the same size, and mixed the cooled squash with the gouda, the seeds of a pomegranate, and some choped toasted nuts. Sometimes he garnished it with with chopped parsley. He serves this dish at room temperature.
Here is my version, using the aged parmagiana reggiano I had on hand, rather than gouda, and using up some old apples in the referigerator. I also added baby spianch to make it more salad like.
Joan's version of Harlan's roasted butternut squash salad
1 butternut squash, medium sized, peeled, seeded, and cut into small cubes (large dice)
3-4 small red apples, cored and cut into chunks the same szie as the suqash
1/2 red onion, chopped to same size as apples and squash
2 Tbsp olive oli
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp maple syrup
seeds of 1 pomegranate
1/2 cup diced good aged, parmesan cheese
1/2 toasted pecans
1 package of baby spinach
1. Toss the squash, apples, and onions with olive oil and salt. Spread on parchment paper on a shallow baking pan. Roast at 400 degrees, turning from time to time, to prevent burning. When browned and crispy, remove and let cool.
2. Melt the butter and let it brown (has a nice nutty aroma). Turn off heat and mix in the maple syrup. Let cool to room temperature as the squash cools.
3. Mix the squash mixture, cheese, parmesan, nuts, pomegrante seeds with the maple butter mix. Check seasonings and add salt and pepper if desired.
4. Divide baby spinach among four to six salad plates.
Divide the squash mixture and mound on top of the greens.
Serve and enjoy the crunch of seeds and nuts, the sweet maple, and the tender roasted fruit and vegetables.