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Cider-Glazed Squash, Arugula, Hazelnut and Goat Cheese Salad

March 5, 2008
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A few months ago, I received the cookbook Cooking with Shelburne Farms: Food and Stories from Vermont. I had heard of Shelburne Farms before (you may have seen their cheddar cheese in your local market), but I had no idea it was so much more than a cheesemaker. From their web site: “Shelburne Farms is a membership-supported, nonprofit environmental education center and National Historic Landmark on the shores of Lake Champlain in Shelburne, Vermont. Our mission is to cultivate a conservation ethic. Schoolchildren, adults, educators and families come here to learn, while casual visitors may enjoy the walking trails, children’s farmyard, inn, restaurant, property tours and special events. The farm serves as an educational resource by practicing rural land use that is environmentally, economically and culturally sustainable.” The cookbook describes their maple sugar bush and sugar shack, the livestock they keep, their cheesemaking process, their organic gardens, and their Inn — I’m hoping B and I can make a trip out there this summer; it sounds right up our alley!

Though I’m only just beginning to make my way through their recipes, it is a fantastic book…I usually stick post-it flags in cookbooks to mark which recipes I’d like to try, and this book is rife with flags! Its chapters are organized around quintessential “Vermont” ingredients: milk and cheese, maple syrup (both sweet and savory recipes), early season greens, lamb, mushrooms, game, fish, pork, root cellar vegetables, and apples. Being raised in New England, these ingredients are many of the ones I grew up on and love. Besides being chock-full of really delicious-sounding recipes, it’s also peppered throughout with stories and profiles of local farmers — so the book is just a great read in general.

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This salad comes from the pages of the book, and is the “house salad” at the Inn at Shelburne Farms. It combines arugula – or any of your favorite green – with toasted hazelnuts, crumbled tangy goat cheese, cubes of butternut squash that have been roasted with a little apple cider. All this is tossed with a subtly-sweet cider vinaigrette, and all I can say about the result is: YUM.

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(Note: you’ll probably have some squash leftover. The book suggests roasting it, as below, and tossing it with some barley or pasta, wilted greens, a little more vinaigrette, and topping with goat cheese and hazelnuts. Again I say: YUM!)

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Cider-Glazed Squash, Arugula, Hazelnut and Goat Cheese Salad

From Cooking with Shelburne Farms

Ingredients

For Salad:
1 butternut squash, peeled and seeded, flesh cut into 3/4 inch cubes (save the scraps; see above)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider
1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
4 heaping cups (4 big handfuls) baby arugula or spinach, or a mix of both
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
Cider Vinaigrette

For Cider Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup apple cider (if you want, you can boil it for about 5 minutes to reduce it and intensify the flavors)
1 small shallot, finely minced
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the squash cubes on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, apple cider, and salt. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until the squash is tender and starting to brown. Cool the squash.

While the squash is roasting, coarsely chop the hazelnuts and place them in a small baking dish or sheet pan. Place them in the oven during the last 10 minutes of squash cooking time, until they’re toasted and turning golden brown.

Make the vinaigrette:
In a blender or food processor, blitz the apple cider, cider vinegar, shallot, maple syrup, and salt. Gradually stream in the olive oil and blend until it’s emulsified. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Assemble the salad:
Toss the greens with enough vinaigrette to lightly coat. Divide the greens among 4 plates and top with the squash, crumbled goat cheese, and toasted hazelnuts. Drizzle a little more vinaigrette over, if you like.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2008 5:39 pm

    What beautiful colors all together there! Wow!

  2. March 6, 2008 8:07 am

    I have tried roasted squash in salads and it’s wonderful. Now I have to try it this way too!

  3. March 6, 2008 6:49 pm

    Thanks, Gretchen Noelle and Patricia. :) I couldn’t get over the colors, either — the squash really pops against the greens. Patricia, I’m going to try roasted squash in more salads from now on; it was really delicious!

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