Fall Salad with Delicata Squash, Caramelized Apples, and Bacon

Fall Salad with Delicata Squash, Caramelized Apples, and Bacon

Eat Your Greens
As a kid, I always used to laugh at my mother’s and grandmother’s attempts at adding more veggies to the thanksgiving table. I mean, let’s be real. I was only there for the bird and the carbs. You can keep your green beans, thanks. The older I have gotten though, the more I look forward to something to help digest the potato and stuffing carb bomb.

The green beans are still an important part of our celebration. But, in recent years we’ve included various salads as well, such as this recipe for Persimmon, Asian Pear, and Toasted Almond Salad. Now, I am not the biggest salad person. Some people, like my sister, have salads with everything. That is not me. I kinda have to be in the mood for a salad. And, even then, using the word salad might be a bit of a stretch. I like additions to my salads. Chances are if I have made a salad, it is not just a bowl of greens. There will be a random mix of things like pieces of various fruits, cheese, nuts (usually spiced or candied), or cut-up cooked meats like chicken or even better, bacon.

On a recent trip to Oregon, while y’all were dealing with the “bomb cyclone” and 50 feet of rain, I had the opportunity to visit Powell’s, my favorite bookstore. If you have never been to Powell’s bookstore in Portland you are missing out. If you have, well then, you know. I could spend days in there and still want more. On this trip, I found a Portland Farmers Market cookbook that I have been working my way through since I returned.

Amongst the pages of beautiful Pacific Northwest offerings, I found this recipe for Fall Salad with Delicata Squash, Caramelized Apples, and Bacon. It would be the perfect addition as something green and a bit different for your Thanksgiving table.

Fall Salad with Delicata Squash, Caramelized Apples, and Bacon
Adapted from the Portland Farmers Market Cookbook
Yields 4 to 6 servings

1 small (10 to 12 ounces) delicata squash
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 to 6 ounces thickly sliced bacon
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1 firm, tart apple, such as Pink Lady, skin on, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, divided
1/2 large onion (about 1 cup), thinly sliced
2 teaspoons Dijon or stone-ground mustard
1 teaspoon honey
4 cups hearty baby greens

Prepare the squash
Preheat the oven to 400º F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a large spoon. Slice each half into 1/4-inch half moons and add them to a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of the oil, the salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Toss the squash pieces until evenly coated.

Spread the squash pieces in a layer on one of the baking sheets, and bake them until they are tender and lightly caramelized, but still slightly firm (about 12 to 15 minutes).

Prepare the bacon
While the squash is cooking, lay the bacon slices on the other baking sheet with about an inch in-between them. Put the bacon in the oven with the squash and cook it for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan front to back and cook bacon until it is crisply (about 3 to 5 more minutes). Remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and cool completely.

Sauté the apples
In a large sauté pan that is placed over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. When the butter begins to foam and bubble, add the apples slices and a pinch of salt. Sauté the apples until they are tender and lightly browned (about 5 to 8 minutes). Stir in 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, and move the apples to a larger serving bowl.

Sauté the onions
Return the sauté pan to the heat, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. When the butter begins to bubble, add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook the onions until they are very soft, lightly golden, and sweet-tasting (about 20 to 30 minutes). Add 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, toss to coat the onions, and add them to the bowl with apples.

Make the dressing
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 tablespoon of vinegar with the mustard and honey. Slowly drizzle in the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, whisking to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Assemble the salad
To serve, add the greens to the bowl with the apples and onions. Crumble in the bacon pieces and add the squash. Toss the salad with the dressing to coat the ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately.

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