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nosh friday: fall guy salad

October 23, 2010

Last fall, a special man came into my life. He was colorful and fresh, sweet in all the right ways, comforting and creative. His name — Fall Guy…and he lived on the menu at one of my favorite local restaurants, the Electric Cheetah.

Okay, so he wasn’t so much a man as he was a salad. But what a salad he was! Roasted squash and portobello mushrooms, apples, arugula, pumpkin vinegarette. DIVINE, so very divine. I got it every time I went there until seasons changed and off the menu he trotted, into the void of menu dishes past. I mourned his absence, cried into my empty plate and then eventually moved on with my life. (I met his brother, Leftover Meatloaf Sandwich, and oh me, oh my. Another story for another time.)

Last weekend, I realized that I could, in my own way, bring him back. Why couldn’t I recreate this salad at home? So that’s exactly what I did — adding my own twists and creating an even better version with which I was just as smitten as I was with the original. You may not have this option with men, but hot damn, you have it with food. Hallelujah and amen.

Fall Guy Salad — The Remix

1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
4 oz. crimini mushrooms, quartered
Olive oil
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
Sea salt, to taste
3 cups fresh greens (I used a delightful mix from the farmer’s market, with arugula, turnip greens, etc.)
1 Bosc pear, cored and sliced thin
2 T. pumpkin seeds or pepitas

Maple Pumpkin Vinegarette:

2 T. apple cider vinegar
2 T. olive oil
1 T. maple syrup
1  heaping T. pumpkin puree
Big pinch ground cinnamon
Salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Peel, seed and cube your butternut squash into about 1 inch cubes. Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth (NEVER wash them under running water, they’ll get rubbery) and quarter into big chunks. Toss the squash and mushrooms with olive oil, a big pinch of sea salt and the cayenne pepper. Scrape the veggies onto a sheet tray and roast in the hot oven for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is soft and beginning to caramelize. Set aside to cool slightly.

While the veggies are cooling, mix up the dressing. Depending on how tart or oily you like your dressing, feel free to adjust the amounts. I never measure when I make salad dressing, so the amounts listed are estimations. Taste as you go along and decide for yourself how much of each item you want to use. Pour the vinegar, maple syrup, pumpkin, salt and cinnamon into a small bowl and mix together well with a small whisk. Stream the oil in, whisking constantly so it will come together nicely. It should be somewhat thick, but not so thick you can’t drizzle it.

Slice the pear thinly, taking out the core with a small melon baller and leaving the skin on. Portion out the greens into two large bowls and top with the warm veggies, slices of pear and drizzle generously with your maple pumpkin vinegarette. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on and serve immediately. Consume ravenously and swoon with delight.

Serves 2 hungry folks or 3-4 as a side dish

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Scout permalink
    October 23, 2010 8:29 pm

    I am getting creepy flashbacks of brownie boyfriend.
    Miss you.

  2. Caroline permalink*
    October 24, 2010 11:05 am

    @ Scout!

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    Miss you, too.

  3. Amber permalink
    October 25, 2010 1:10 pm

    Man! I wish that salad would appear in my lap right now. Maple syrup and pumpkin puree in a vinaigrette! I’ve never heard of such things. Didn’t know a vinaigrette could be so cool. Someone should bottle and sell that.

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