Friday, November 19, 2010

Arugula Salad with Pomegranate and Roasted Acorn Squash

Arugula Salad with Pomegranate and Roasted Acorn Squash

All over America, people are eagerly planning their Thanksgiving feasts. I've lost track at the number of tweets, posts, and articles that scream "you should be thinking about Thanksgiving all the time". Well guess what...I'm not. I've never been that in to Thanksgiving food so even though I took a class dedicated to Thanksgiving decadence last weekend and my friends are hosting a pre-Thanksgiving ("Brunchgiving") this weekend. I sort of want to crawl into a dark hole and wait for New Year, but I'm not a total Scrooge. For "Brunchgiving" I'll be making this salad which is a great addition to the Thanksgiving table. With all that turkey and gravy and stuffing, you need something light to ease the guilt. I made a few changes to the original recipe. First, I reduced the pomegranate juice. I didn't want to make pomegranate molasses, but I wanted a more concentrated pomegranate flavor. I also switched out arugula for the dandelion greens because the dandelion's bitter bite may be off-putting to some. Arugula has just enough peppery freshness that a crowd can appreciate. I thought about using candied, spiced nuts in place of the pine nuts, but I actually enjoyed the melow nutty flavor the lent to the salad and of course juicy pomegranate arils always brighten things up. This is a great salad full of fall flavors and I can't wait to make it again not only this weekend, but for a dinner party I am cooking for soon. I'm sure all my friends will love it.

Arugula Salad with Pomegranate and Roasted Acorn Squash
(Adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2005)

Makes 3-4 servings

For the dressing:
5 tablespoons pomegranate juice
2 1/4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 1/4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For the squash:
1 tablespoon butter, cut in half
1 unpeeled small acorn squash, halved, seeded and cut into 12 wedges

For the salad:
8 ounces baby arugula, washed and dried
3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

Salt and pepper

To make the dressing:
Bring the pomegranate juice to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the juice has reduced to two tablespoons. Set aside to cool.

Whisk the juice and vinegars in a bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Re-whisk before using.

To make the squash:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.

Melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the squash. Cook until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer the squash to a the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining butter and squash. Sprinkle the squash with salt and pepper. Transfer the squash to the oven and bake 15-20 minutes until the squash is softened and cooked through.

Mix the greens with half of the dressing. Divide among plates. Top the greens with some squash, sprinkle of pomegranate seeds, and a sprinkle of pine nuts. Drizzle each plate with more dressing.

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Erica said...

I'm not WILD about thanksgiving food either. I have always dreamed of doing a Mexican themed thanksgiving dinner :) I think that would be a lot of fun. The salad turned out gorgeous though and I like the adjustments you made. Hope the Brunchgiving is fun

Amanda said...

Fun salad!! I like *going* to peoples houses for Thanksgiving. Saves me spending one second thinking about menus or organizing... I just get to eat! :)


The Urban Baker said...

esi, this looks so good. i love all of you healthy twists on old favorites! i could eat the squash all on its own, yet the salad is a bonus!

Holly said...

I soo want to try this salad!! Looks delish!:)

Joanne said...

This salad definitely has a thanksgiving twist to it but is still far enough away that your eyes don't glaze over at the thought of it! Love the fall flavors!

Diana said...

I'll give you a hearty amen for this post.

We should have an un-Thanksgiving party when you are back in town. Tacos at Tinga?

Unknown said...

i'd certainly gobble this salad up ;) hope you had a good brunch!

Chef Fresco said...

I love acorn squash! I think this looks like the perfect thanksgiving salad!

Banana Wonder said...

Love this combination! Would love to attend brunchgiving and yeah, I'm a scrooge too about all this turkey hoohaw stuff. Now let's eat some of this salad!

marla {Family Fresh Cooking} said...

This is a great looking salad-I always love roasted veggies with fresh chilled greens :) I actually am looking forward to Thanksgiving food, but I like mine fresh & light like your salad.

Marie said...

I love both arugula and roasted acorn squash! Perfect salad for me. :)

M. said...

such an elegant autumn plate, love the combo of roasted squash and zesty pomegranate seeds.

Denise Michaels - Adventurous Foodie said...

I had a salad last year at either "Sammy's Woodfired Pizza" or "California Pizza Kitchen" can't remember which - that included hunks of squash. I think it was called a Moroccan Salad. It also had dried cranberries and almonds and pieces of grilled chicken. It really was delish and I couldn't stop eating it. Love your presentation here.

As for Thanksgiving dinner - I think turkey is dumb. It's great when it comes out right - but very often that's not true. I'm also sooooo over mashed potatoes. I know I can add garlic, keep in the skins. Hubby and I went to a restaurant recently where the mashed potatoes had some hunks of bleu cheese. But people want 'em pretty plain for Turkey Day and that's boring to me.

Denise Michaels - Adventurous Foodie said...

In reply to Erica - I did a Mexican themed Christmas one year with Turkey Mole, rice, a Mexican salad and Flan for dessert. It was all good but very labor intensive and I don't think people really appreciated it because they were yearning for tradition.

Gaby said...

I need this in my life!! And I need a little Esi in my life too!! Drinks after the holiday for sure!

Maria said...

Love this salad!

Kelly said...

This is gorgeous, with a fun dish like this I'd never know you weren't wild about Thanksgiving. I love that it brings some traditional fall flavors and colors to the table in a new way.

lisa is cooking said...

The mix of flavors sounds really great here. I've been enjoying squash with greens in a few different forms this fall, and the addition of the pomegranate sounds fantastic.

Unknown said...

Great use of squash. I would never thinkg of use it.