Saturday, October 17, 2009

Black Kale Kabocha Squash and Flagolet Bean Salad with Cranberries

This is the perfect Fall salad.
  • 1 medium Kabocha squash (about 2 lbs) halved lengthwise & seeded
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped (you can also use leeks or red onion)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup cooked Flagolet beans 
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash into 1/2 inch thick semicircles. Toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil and spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until just tender, about 15-18 minutes.  Mix together the balsamic vinegar & honey in a small bowl.  Brush some of the mixture onto the squash slices; reserve remaining mixture.  Bake for 5 minutes. 
2. Meanwhile, place kale in a large bowl. Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add shallot and garlic, and cook until slightly softened, about 4 minutes.  Add red-wine vinegar and remaining vinegar-honey mixture to saucepan, and bring to a boil. Immediately pour the hot dressing over kale, and sprinkle with salt & season with pepper.  Add squash, beans and cranberries.  Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand for 5 minutes.  Toss until kale wilts slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

You can also play with this recipe a bit. You can add pine nuts, walnuts, other dried fruits. You can use different hard squash, or do it with raw spinach or arugala.  That is how you become a good cook, and make the recipe your own!

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