Marinated Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash & Parmesan

Marinated Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash & Parmesan  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Marinated Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash & Parmesan | Image: Laura Messersmith

The particular ingredients of this salad are inspired by one we had at The Walrus and the Carpenter on our trip to Seattle last fall when Mike and I found ourselves duking it out over the last bites at dinner. I truly never thought I’d see the day when we would have to evenly divide up a salad to ensure equal opportunity – chocolate cake, maybe; leafy greens, no. I took some notes of the ingredients in my phone thinking I’d try to make it for us after we returned to New York.

Alas, after the great iphone meltdown of 2015 with all notepads lost I had to rely on my memory and my own personal preferences to recreate at least the spirit of that dish. Something lemony, something hearty, a little cheese, toasted nuts for crunch and here we are. A salad that inspires second helpings and can be made in advance. Even assembled this salad can stay in the refrigerator for a day or two.

To be honest, I was never a huge fan of kale in salads until I had a marinated kale salad. Game changer. With arugula or spinach, limiting the time the delicate leaves are in contact with the dressing is essential to prevent wilting. Marinating kale in an acidic dressing takes what is normally a drawback of traditional salads and turns it into a virtue – using the dressing to break down the fibrous leaves, infusing them with flavor, and leaving them perfectly tender, but still crisp.

Marinated Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash & Parmesan   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Marinated Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash & Parmesan | Image: Laura Messersmith

Marinated Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash and Parmesan (serves 4)

Ingredients:
3 cups (1 bunch) lacinato kale ribbons (aka black or Tuscan kale)
1 medium delicata squash
2 ounces parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pistachios
2 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas)
1/4 cup (2-3 lemons) lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:
Wash and dry the kale leaves before removing the tough central rib by running a chef’s knife along either side. Cut the kale leaves into ribbons by stacking 3-4 leaves and rolling vertically, end to end, into a cigar shape. Cut horizontally across the roll to create long strips.

Once all of the kale is prepared, whisk together the freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper for the marinade/dressing. Toss the kale ribbons with the dressing in a medium mixing bowl and set aside at room temperature for 2-3 hours or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, stir occasionally.

To prepare the squash, wash the exterior and cut a thin slice from the top and bottom to remove the stem. Slice the remaining squash horizontally into 1/3” wide rounds (no need to peel!) Scoop out the seeds and pulp from each ring with a spoon and place the squash on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Roast in a pre-heated oven at 425 degrees F for 25-30 minutes turning every 7-10 minutes to ensure even caramelization.

While the squash is roasting, grate the Parmesan cheese, and toast the pistachios in a dry pan over medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes. Watch the pistachios carefully and stir occasionally to prevent them from burning.

Layer the marinated kale, roasted squash, toasted pistachios, pepitas, and parmesan. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve chilled.

Inspired by The Walrus and the Carpenter and adapted from the Marinated Kale Salad in A Boat, a Whale, and a Walrus: Menus and Stories by Renee Erickson and Jess Thomson.

Marinated Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash & Parmesan   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Marinated Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash & Parmesan | Image: Laura Messersmith

Small Kitchen Friendly?
Absolutely. I used a medium mixing bowl, chef’s knife, medium cutting board, and liquid measuring cup. I also needed a rimmed baking sheet, tongs, box grater, and small sauté pan in addition to a regular spoon, measuring cups and spoons. Aluminum foil will help with clean up.

The Verdict:
I took a batch of this kale salad along with us on a weekend trip when I didn’t know what the kitchen situation would be and wanted to have a few items prepped for on the fly meals. Mike and I had this for a lighter soup & salad lunch and it was perfect. Simultaneously hearty and light, great flavor, and came straight from the refrigerator onto our plates ready to go. The brightness of the lemon and salty parmesan balances nicely against the richer squash, pistachios and pepitas with the now-tender kale providing a crunchy backdrop. This is a great fall salad for entertaining or lazy weekends at home.

Marinated Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash & Parmesan   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Marinated Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash & Parmesan | Image: Laura Messersmith


Curried Winter Squash Soup with Greek Yogurt Crème Fraîche

Curried Winter Squash Soup with Pumpkin Greek Yogurt C   rème Fraîche    | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Curried Winter Squash Soup with Pumpkin Greek Yogurt Crème Fraîche | Image: Laura Messersmith

Maybe this makes me weird, but one of the things I love most about late fall is the arrival of the pumpkins and squashes. Their deep orange and gold tones echo the leaves on the ground and are a welcome splash of color on the dinner table, especially now when sunset seems earlier and earlier.

I love them roasted and tossed with cranberries, or grilled on salads, and of course I love them pureed into beautifully smooth soup. Butternut squash bisque is a classic for a reason – it’s delicious – but I wanted to try something a little different by adding some elements that would complement the richness of the squash and add a little depth. The flavors are influenced by Indian food, but the amount of each spice called for us relatively small, so the effect is a subtle undercurrent of warm, perfumed spice. That richness is brought into balance by the tang of the cool pumpkin and cinnamon greek yogurt.

Extra bonus: this is a two-in-one recipe, because if you’re not curry-inclined it’s easy to skip the last four spices (garam masala, ginger, curry, turmeric) and just use a plain greek yogurt for the crème fraîche step. A slice of multi-grain bread with toasted Gruyere and you’re in business with a light meal that’s still satisfying.

Curried Winter Squash Soup with Pumpkin Greek Yogurt C   rème Fraîche    | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Curried Winter Squash Soup with Pumpkin Greek Yogurt Crème Fraîche | Image: Laura Messersmith

Curried Winter Squash Soup with Greek Yogurt Crème Fraiche (serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

6 cups (1 medium) diced butternut squash
2 cups (1/2 medium) diced acorn squash
1/2 cup (2 medium) minced shallots
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
5.3 ounces (1 container) Chobani Pumpkin Spice Yogurt
1 teaspoon 2% milk
1/4 cup squash seeds
ground black pepper
kosher salt

Instructions:

Peel the butternut and acorn squashes, cut in half length-wise, and scoop out the pulp and seeds from the core with a spoon. Reserve the seeds in a small bowl and discard the pulp. Cut the two squashes into approximately 1/2 inch cubes. Next, mince the shallots.

Meanwhile, in a medium French oven or large pot melt the butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. Sauté the shallots in the melted butter until softened, then add the squash pieces and stir to coat with the butter and shallot mixture. Season with 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt.

Add the chicken broth to the pot and raise the heat to bring the soup to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes or until the squash pieces are easily pierced with a fork.

Meanwhile, spread the reserved squash seeds on a baking sheet and toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Toast in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes until crisp and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Next, use a blender or food processor to puree the softened squash and broth in batches until the texture is smooth (about 1-1 1/2 minutes per batch), reserving the pureed soup in a large bowl. Return the pureed soup to the pot and stir in the garam masala, curry powder, ground ginger, and turmeric. Bring the soup back up to a low simmer.

Stir together the Chobani Pumpkin Spice Yogurt and 2% milk in a small bowl (or right in the yogurt container) until evenly combined.

Finally, serve the winter squash bisque hot with a teaspoon or two of the pumpkin greek yogurt crème fraîche (a plastic squeeze bottle will help get that perfect swirl) in each bowl and a sprinkle of toasted squash seeds and a finishing pinch of garam masala. Accompany with a toasted piece of whole grain bread.

Curried Winter Squash Soup with Pumpkin Greek Yogurt C   rème Fraîche    | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Curried Winter Squash Soup with Pumpkin Greek Yogurt Crème Fraîche | Image: Laura Messersmith

Small Kitchen Friendly?

Yes, indeed! The Le Creuset French oven (5.5 quart) rides again, along with a large cutting board, a chef’s knife, Y-shaped vegetable peeler, wooden spatula, measuring spoons and cups. I also used a blender, a medium bowl (for reserving pureed batches of the soup), a sheet pan, and plastic squeeze bottle to get that perfect swirl of greek yogurt crème fraîche.

The Verdict:

Mike and my sister Katherine humored me by doing “blind” taste tests of the various combinations of classic/curried squash soup with both plain and pumpkin spice yogurt to see which we liked best. I didn’t realize they were fans of curry, but they surprised me when by giving the spicier version high marks. In the end, all the combinations were successful, so you really can’t go wrong here. And, since this is such a simple soup it would be a perfect make-ahead first course for an elegant Thanksgiving supper.

Curried Winter Squash Soup with Pumpkin Greek Yogurt C  rème Fraîche   | Image:  Laura Messersmith

Curried Winter Squash Soup with Pumpkin Greek Yogurt Crème Fraîche | Image: Laura Messersmith