Posts Tagged ‘butternut squash’

Seasonal eats: Roasted butternut squash salad

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Locally grown butternut squash is a tasty, nutritious and versatile vegetable that makes it easier to eat seasonally over the winter. Its  smooth texture and sweet, nutty flavour pair well with many meat, poultry and grain dishes. In addition, it’s rich in vitamins A, B6 and C, as well as magnesium, potassium, fibre and folate. Butternut squash is abundant in the fall and lasts up to two to three months stored in a cool, dark basement or cupboard.

It’s also simple to prepare. Choose a squash that’s firm and heavy. Peel it, scoop out the seeds and cut the flesh into cubes. Then toss the cubes in oil for oven-roasting, purée them for soup, or boil and mash them to use in casseroles, muffins or breads. 

Here’s a recipe for roasted squash salad developed by Anna March, resident chef at The Urban Element, a culinary studio on Wellington Street that supports local producers and seasonal eating.

A graduate of Algonquin College’s chef training   program, Anna has honed her culinary style at acclaimed restaurants across Canada, including Ottawa’s Beckta and Farbs Kitchen and Wine Bar, and Vancouver’s Fuel. She was also chef at Mariposa, the Plantagenet duck and goose farm that serves Sunday lunches of regionally sourced, country-style fare. Anna says she hopes her enthusiasm for food and cooking inspires others to use fresh local ingredients and make cooking a fun, exciting part of every day.

 Roasted squash salad with granola and maple vinaigrette

Chef Anna March

2 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1/4 cup canola oil

1 bunch fresh thyme

1 bunch sage

3 cloves garlic, smashed

salt and pepper to taste

3 granny smith apples cut into cubes at the last minute

1 shallot, minced

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese curls or chips (use a peeler)

1 recipe of honey roasted granola (see recipe below)

1 recipe of maple mustard vinaigrette (see below)

1. In a large bowl, toss the squash cubes with oil, salt and pepper, herbs and garlic. Spread evenly on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 375°F for about 15 minutes or until the squash is tender but not falling apart. To ensure even cooking, remove the squash halfway through and toss.

2. Prepare remaining ingredients, including the granola and vinaigrette.

 3. Drizzle maple vinaigrette over the baked squash and combine with the other ingredients.

Serve the salad as a main course or side dish.

Honey roasted granola

Tip: Toss the granola a few times during baking to make sure it’s evenly crisp.

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup oatmeal

1/2 tsp cayenne

1 cup honey

1 tsp salt or to taste

1 cup almonds (if desired)

1. Heat the honey, cayenne and salt in a small saucepan.

2. Pour honey mixture over the remaining ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine. Check the seasonings and adjust as necessary.

3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, spread the granola on top and bake at 350°F until golden brown and crispy.

4. When the granola cools, break it into small pieces.

Maple mustard vinaigrette

Yield: 2 1/2 cups

Tip: Vinaigrettes work best with a three-to-one ratio of oil to vinegar. Plug any oils or vinegars into this equation for a well-balanced vinaigrette. Here, you can always adjust the acidity with a little sweetness from the maple syrup.

2/3 cup sherry vinegar

1 1/2 cups grape seed oil

2 tbsp grainy mustard

3 tbsp maple syrup

salt and pepper to taste

1. Whisk the mustard, maple syrup and vinegar together in a bowl.

2. Whisk in the oil In a steady stream until well blended. Season to taste.

What are your favourite recipes for winter squash?