Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Salad with Warm Roasted Pumpkin Squash

     This is a great winter salad and is best served when the roasted squash is still hot so that it gently wilts the greens.  I have several dozen Seminole pumpkin squashes matured on vines in the garden almost all the time.  The sandy soil must be hospitable, because this squash grows with no help.  It's extremely nutritious, low in fat, high in carotenoids and fiber.  If you live in Gainesville, FL, the best place for smoked paprika is Wards, where it's always fresh-tasting and sold for a great price in the bulk section.

     2 large Seminole pumpkins, seeded, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
     1/4 cup olive oil
     3 Tbsp maple syrup
     2 tsp salt
     1 tsp pepper
     2 Tbsp smoked paprika

      2 heads of Romaine or other leafy salad greens, washed, diced and spun dry
      1 tomato, diced into small pieces

     1 tsp salt
     1 Tbsp maple syrup
     2 Tbsp champagne (or other light) vinegar
     drippings that accumulate from roasting squash
     2 tsp smoked paprika
     4 Tbsp olive oil

     Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Combine squash with olive oil, maple syrup, salt, pepper and smoked paprika in a large bowl, tossing the pieces until all are coated with the mixture.  Pour onto a raised-edged baking pan keeping the squash in a single layer.  Roast in oven for 30 to 60 minutes, turning every 5-10 minutes, until the squash is golden and caramelized.  If juices collect in the pan, pour them into a Pyrex container to use for the salad dressing, or they will  burn.
     Mix all dressing ingredients rapidly with a fork to emulsify into dressing.
     Divide greens onto four plates.  Sprinkle with diced tomato.  Transfer roasted squash while still warm on top of greens, dividing among the plates.  Pour dressing over squash and greens, and serve.

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