This was our lunch yesterday.
We eat salad meals quite often and this was the first salad of the season with fall vegetables and fruits. There can be so many permutations from this platter that everyone really eats a different salad and these MYO combos are such a fun eating experience. We felt so good that we had done our part in eating healthy, that we gave ourselves a pass and packed away platefuls of rice at lunch today! That’s how it goes in this family.
I have an urge this time of the year, to roast vegetables. So I decided to mix up some roasted beets and butternut squash with some figs, pears, fingerling potatoes and some spring and bitter greens. I made a very sweet dressing, and to contrast that, another slightly tart and bitter dressing. I can say this, you will eat with all our senses except the sense of sound, as words will be superfluous.
Roasted the beets and butternut squash in a 375 degree oven. Scrubbed the beets thoroughly and trimmed the top and packaged it in aluminum foil and roasted for an hour. Check to see if it is done, by piercing a fork and if it slides through easily, it is ready.
Diced the butter nut squash and roasted for about 30 minutes in the same 375 degree oven. I did not use any oil with the beets or the squash, nor did I have to turn the squash during the roasting process. It was firm on the outside and soft inside. Check to see if it is done to your specs, you might want to leave it a little longer if you want it softer. As soon as the beets and squash came out of the oven I seasoned it with some salt. [peeled and diced the beets first, ofcourse]
Scrubbed the potatoes clean and boiled in salted water till done. Best to do a taste test for this. Left them with skins on.
Dressing #1; An apple cider reduction vinaigrette.
The sweet dressing complimented the mostly sweet fruits and vegetables. An apple cider reduction dressing without any oil, that’s right NO OIL. The reduction makes the apple cider so syrupy that the dressing is creamy enough without any oil.
I cup apple cider
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste.
Reduce a cup of apple cider to a 1/4 cup. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk.
Dressing #2; A wine reduction vinaigrette.
A faintly bitter dressing, to contrast the sweetness and compliment the radicchio and Belgian endive. This is a wine reduction dressing. I had some left over wine from my brother and sis-in-law’s visit and I wondered if a wine reduction would work well in place of an acid in a salad dressing.? A little bit of experimentation later, I think I may have a fancy schmancy vinaigrette and probably this is the closest I’ll ever come to french cooking!
1 cup white wine [a 2007 New Zealand Reisling which was really, my relative’s choice of alcohol]
4 tablespoons of shallots very finely chopped
6-8 cloves of garlic cut into halves
3-4 tablespoons of good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
Herbs of your choice. Optional. [I used 1/2 a teaspoon of chopped sage and rosemary combined]
Add the shallots and garlic to one cup of wine and gently heat in a stainless steel saucepan. The longer it takes to reduce the more infused the wine is with the flavors of garlic and shallots.
Reduce the wine so that when you strain the shallots and garlic, you get a 1/4 cup of liquid. Whisk in the olive oil and add the salt, pepper and herbs if using. This is a light dressing, so as not to overpower the natural taste and flavors of the salad.
The rest of the players in this medley.
Spring greens, Radicchio and Belgian Endive
Red and D’Anjou pears
Candied pecans and parmesan cheese crisps. See my previous post on how to prepare them.
Make your own [MYO] plate, choose your dressing or combine both, add your toppings or not and have it any which way you pretty please.
Or even add eggs as one of my children did.
Do let me know when you try it and please give me your feedback.