Spring finds fresh greens (often from Linderhof's flowerpots), spring onions, baby beets. During strawberry time, slices will find their way onto salads. Baby sorrel leaves find their way to the salad plate.
Summer salads do have tomatoes but fresh garden tomatoes and herb garden basil. Many summer evenings, we'll have salads of mixed baby greens with a picking of herbs from the garden.
Winter salads include fruits rather than vegetables all served on a base of mixed baby greens. Blueberries and bleu cheese, chunks of frozen peaches and feta.
Nuts rather than croutons are sprinkled on top of the salad and dressings no matter the season are always vinaigrettes.
One of my culinary heroes, Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, has a new cookbook due out at the end of the month, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, and I can hardly wait. Thanks to House Beautiful, there was a sneak peak.
One of the recipes intrigued me and with a butternut squash in the bin and fresh arugula from the farmer's market, I made Ina's Warm Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette. It is truly a fall salad both in appearance and taste.
ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SALAD WITH WARM CIDER VINAIGRETTE
My friend Stephen Drucker described a warm butternut squash salad that he'd been served and asked if I could make one. Why not? I love the interplay of hot and cold plus the sweet butternut squash, tart dried cranberries, nutty Parmesan, and bitter arugula. He agreed that this was as good as the original.
1 (11⁄2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and (3⁄4-inch) diced
Good olive oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
3⁄4 cup apple cider or apple juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 ounces baby arugula, washed and spun dry
1⁄2 cup walnut halves, toasted
3⁄4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper and toss with your hands. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once with a spatula, until tender. Five minutes before the squash is done, add the cranberries to the pan.
While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1⁄4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1⁄2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper.
Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten, and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately