Dinner Tonight: Escarole Salad with Squash and Cheddar

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Now this is the kind of salad I love. There is no need for twenty ingredients or a gloppy dressing to get in the way. No, all that's needed in this late-fall dish from Martha Stewart is a solid base ingredient and a few well-chosen additions to accentuate its flavor. Though the escarole gets the main billing, it takes on more of a supporting roll—its crunchiness is mainly used to balance the tender and slightly sweet roasted butternut squash (the real star).

The apple slices bring a bracing acidity to the salad and the salty cheese add a little zing. But I still felt like it was missing something, so I did want any sane person would do—add bacon. It played extremely well.

Dinner Tonight: Escarole Salad with Squash and Cheddar

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About This Recipe

Yield:4

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, quartered, cored, and sliced thinly
  • 1 head escarole, torn into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 1/2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, thinly shaved
  • 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled

Procedures

  1. 1

    Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the squash on a large baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and a sprinkling of black pepper. Transfer to the oven and cook until the squash is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. When done, remove the squash and set aside to cool.

  2. 2

    Meanwhile, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Continue whisking, and drizzle in the rest of the oil. Taste, and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

  3. 3

    Mix together the apple, bacon, escarole, half of the cheese, and the cooled squash in a large bowl. Pour the dressing on, and toss until combined. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese and serve.

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