The holidays are over, and the internet and media are now focused on New Year’s resolutions, particularly those that involve healthy lifestyle and weight loss. Like everyone, I overindulge a bit during the holiday festivities. My body is telling me right now to eat lighter and healthier, so that’s the type of recipes you’ll see in the upcoming weeks. This is essentially how we eat on our Italy adventure tours, great seasonal food paired with a daily activity, making a healthy lifestyle more of a pleasure than a chore!
I love a great salad, and like to break away from the usual accouterments – cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes, especially this time of year when tomatoes are out of season and tasteless. This salad features locally grown winter squash and apples, both of which I purchased in bulk from my CSA, Long Hill Orchards in West Newbury, MA and store in my garage.
Now that I am in Maine for the winter, a trip to the grocers becomes a production. But even here you will find farmers dedicated to providing locally grown products, even as the snow piles up all around us. I order weekly from Western Maine Market, and my order is delivered on Friday afternoon. My absolute favorite mixed salad greens I buy here, from Deborah Chadbourne of Rasmussen Farm. The mix varies with the season, and can include all different types kale, mizuna, arugula, sorrel, borage, herbs, even pansy and nasturtium. This time of year it is a robust mix, heavy on kale and chard. But I love the myriad of flavors, and the many bitter greens she includes.
I used a balsamic syrup to flavor this salad. You can buy this at a gourmet specialty store, or make your own – take 1 cup balsamic vinegar and boil it until reduced to 1/3 cup. It would also be great flavored with pomegranate molasses.
Insalata Con Zucca e Mele Arrosto
1 delicata squash, halved, seeds removed, and cut into 1/4 inch slices
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large or 2 small apples, cut into 8 pieces total
4 cups salad greens
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
2 tablespoons toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 375°.
Toss the squash slices with a bit of olive oil, and season with salt. Place on a sheet pan, and roast until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with a bit of the balsamic syrup.
Toss the apple slices with a bit of olive oil, and place on a separate sheet pan. Roast until just tender, not too long so they become mushy, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with a bit of the balsamic syrup.
Place the greens in a large bowl, toss with olive oil and season with salt. Drizzle with a bit more balsamic syrup and toss again.
Divide the dressed greens onto 4 salad plates. Top each with 2 apple slices, and 2-3 slices of squash. Garnish with the pomegranate seeds and walnuts, and serve.