Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Spinach Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Bacon, Walnuts and Maple Vinaigrette

Spinach with Roasted Butternut Squash, Bacon, Walnuts
and Maple Vinaigrette
As Shared from the Kitchen of Once Upon a Plate

Notes: You can adjust the amount of ingredients according to your preference. I just eyeball the amounts. Increase the amount of dressing as needed, it keeps well, refrigerated, for a week or two. The salad is wonderful served while the squash and dressing are still warm, but it is perfectly fine at room temperature, too. Add dressing just before serving.

Ingredients for the Salad

Fresh, washed baby spinach leaves, stems removed. (Preferably organic spinach)
Butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes/dice (about 3/4-inch)
Slices of bacon, sliced crosswise into thin strips and fried until just crisp, drained
Handful of walnut pieces or halves, toasted
Olive Oil
Kosher or Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 400*(F), with rack in center of oven

Place diced butternut squash on rimmed baking sheet, toss with a tablespoon or two of olive oil to coat, then sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast in hot oven turning pieces once or twice until just tender but not mushy. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

Arrange spinach leaves on platter or individual plates, sprinkle with roasted butternut squash, crispy bacon and walnut pieces.

Drizzle with Maple Vinaigrette, and offer additional freshly ground black pepper when serving.

Makes about 1/2 cup dressing

1/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup (no substitutes)
1/4 cup Sherry Vinegar (or Apple Cider Vinegar)*
1/2 cup Olive or Grapeseed oil (I use less; adjust to your own taste)
1/4 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place Maple syrup in a small pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and allow syrup to reduce by about half.

In a small bowl, whisk together the reduced maple syrup with the vinegar, whisk in the Dijon mustard, then whisk in the oil until mixture is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Don't be stingy with the salt.

Alternately, shake ingredients in a small jar with a tight fitting lid, in the order indicated above. Or, blend in a small food processor or blender.

*Note Apple Cider Vinegar is generally stronger, so adjust amount accordingly.


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