- Yield: 2
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30-40 minutes
Warm Butternut Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette
The Bay Area's weather can be weird sometimes, even for someone who has been living there for a few years. Sunday and Monday we had a colossal heatwave with temperatures in the high 80s and everybody complaining about the lack of air condition in most places. I didn't complain but I was making sure not to use my stove or oven in Monday's dinner making process. The result was a delicious Spanish Gazpacho and a Greek Salad with some steak strips (okay, I've turned on the stove for a bit).
Came Thursday, it got all cold and gloomy and I could not wait getting home from the gym to crank up the oven to roast some vegetables (and turn my place into a warm and cozy haven). As usual, I forgot to take meat out of the freezer and I didn't really have a game plan so I've improvised and that's when I do some of my best - read most delicious - work in the kitchen. Going through fridge and pantry, this warm butternut squash salad with a bacon and sage vinaigrette, topped with a soft boiled egg was utterly delicious and the perfect fall dish.
- For the salad
- Butternut Squash - 1 whole
- Fresh Mozzarella - 1/2 cup small balls
- Scallions - 2 - 4, sliced on a bias
- Italian Parsley - 2 - 3 tbsp, coarsely chopped
- Eggs - 2, large
- Olive Oil - 1 - 2 tbsp
- Salt, Pepper - to taste
- For the Vinaigrette
- Bacon / Pancetta - 1/2 cup
- Sage - 1 tbsp, fresh
- White Balsamic Vinegar - 1/4 cup
- Dijon Mustard - 1 tsp
- Maple Syrup - 1 - 2 tbsp
- Chicken Stock - 1/4 cup
- Salt, Pepper - to taste
Because I improvised this recipe, I added what I had available. In this case it was some fresh mozzarella. Feel free to stray away from the recipe in this point. I would have loved to add some arugula, fresh grape tomatoes. But whatever pairs well with sweet and bacon (and what does not?) should work. Instead of the egg, some grilled chicken would also make a great meal with this.
- Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
- Peel, seed, and cut the squash into bite size pieces about 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch and put into a heat proof dish.
- Add olive oil, salt, and pepper and mix until everything is coated. Using your clean hands works best.
- Bake for 20 minutes, stir, and bake for another 15 - 20 minutes, depending on the age of your squash and the size of the chunks. You don't want the squash to be mushy but retain its shape and a bit of a bite.
- During the last 10 minutes, boil 2 eggs until they are perfectly soft. Poached eggs would be great as well. Here's the link on how to make a Perfect Soft Boiled Egg every time.
- Put into a large mixing bowl and pour the warm bacon vinaigrette over. Mix to combine.
- Stir in most of the parsley and chives and combine. Let the salad sit for about 10 - 15 minutes to cool down and absorb the flavors of the vinaigrette.
- Add the mozzarella balls (I added them after I've plated it) or any other ingredient you want to add, mix again and serve with the cut open soft boiled egg and a sprinkle of the leftover parsley and scallions.
- Cut the bacon / pancetta into small cubes
- Over low head, render the bacon slowly until nice and brown but still a bit chewy.
- Stir in sage and cook until it becomes fragrant.
- Pour in vinegar and chicken stock (vegetable stock works just as well) and stir to combine.
- Stir in mustard and maple syrup and add some freshly ground pepper. Do not add salt, yet.
- Cook over medium low head until the vinaigrette starts to thicken and bubble up, about 10 - 15 minutes.
- Check on seasoning and add salt, in case the bacon didn't add enough to it. You want the vinaigrette to be potent because the other ingredients in the salad - except the squash - will get all their seasoning from it.