Thursday, October 31, 2013

Shaved Delicata Squash Salad

One of the standout dishes from our recent dinner at Grüner was my starter salad of shaved delicata squash, which inspired this salad recipe.

I've said before that restaurants are a major source of inspiration for me. They're also educational, or at least trying to replicate techniques from a restaurant is a great learning experience.

At the time of our dinner, I had assumed the squash on my salad was raw. After shaving some raw delicata squash and tasting it, I realized it couldn't have been. The raw squash, while edible, was far too tough to have been the tender shavings I'd enjoyed in my salad. If I was going to make a salad inspired by that dish, I'd have to improvise.

I decided to steam the squash briefly. I tested a couple pieces steamed for 1 minute and found them to be too soft. So I tried again for just 30 seconds and they were perfect. Tender enough for the salad but still had their structure.

I used a vegetable peeler to make the shavings. After first removing the peel, I just continued shaving off long strips of about 1/2- to 1-inch width until I got down to the part with the seeds.

Shaved Delicata Squash Salad

1 delicata squash
1/3 cup walnuts
2 handfuls of baby arugula
4 or 5 radishes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup grated ricotta salata cheese
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. fresh chopped chives

1. Peel the squash and discard the peel. Using a vegetable peeler, shave long, thin slices the length of the squash about 1/2- to 1-inch wide. Put a steamer insert in a medium saucepan, fill with water to just below the steamer level and bring to a boil. Steam the squash shavings for 30 seconds (I recommend doing it in 2 or 3 batches). Remove the shavings and plunge in ice water or put in the freezer to quickly chill.

2. Heat a small frying pan over medium-low heat. Toast walnuts until fragrant, tossing occasionally. Set aside to cool.

3. In a large bowl, combine baby arugula, radishes, ricotta salata, cooled squash shavings and cooled walnuts. Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine. Serve in shallow bowls topped with a sprinkle of fresh chives.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this salad. The squash shavings were just as flavorful as pasta ribbons but with far fewer calories (or at least that's my guess). Yum!