Friday, October 23, 2009

Fab New Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

Can you tell that I've been having a little bit of a butternut squash/bacon thing lately?

It must be the cool, fall weather.

I love fall.

And fall food.

But I really love bacon.

I had some leftover bacon (I know - HOW does that happen?) and an errant butternut squash rolling around, so I thought I'd make some salad. "Cause, y'know, salad is better with bacon. And bacon fat. Just sayin'.

Anyway, here's what you want to do:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Peel and cube a butternut squash into 1" or so pieces. Place on a baking sheet with sides and drizzle some olive oil on it (maybe 1 T., but whatever feels good to you) and a generous sprinkle of salt & pepper. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, gently stir, and roast another 15-20 minutes, or until brown and tender. Set aside.

While your squash is cookin', go ahead and saute 4 or 5 or 6 pieces of bacon in a medium skillet. I like to cut it into pieces before I saute because it makes it easier to nibble. Don't tell anyone.

Remove the bacon and set aside on paper towels to drain. Meanwhile, remove all but 2 T. bacon fat from the pan. (Save the remaining bacon fatty goodness, just in case).

Slice 2 or 3 shallots thinly, then saute in the bacon fat for 4-5 minutes, or until soft and starting to brown.

Add 3 T. olive oil to your pan and swirl. Add 2-3 T. cider vinegar, 1 T. Dijon, 1 T. sugar, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, then swirl again until the Dijon is dispersed through the pan. Set aside.

Place 6-8 oz. spinach is a big bowl. Toss in your crumbled bacon, your roasted butternut squash, and 1/2 cup dried cranberries (I like Craisins). Toss gently.

Now, and this is your money shot, pour the warm dressing over the salad. Toss gently again.

Your spinach will get a little wilty, but not turn into mush.

The first time I made this, I used arugula and it was wonderful. I switched it up because I wasn't finding great arugula lately and spinach is a little less expensive.

And that my friends, is the awesomeness of the roasted butternut squash salad with warm bacon dressing. Sha-zam!

Looking for other variations on the theme? It seems like warm bacon dressing is all the rage this month. You can check out Pioneer Woman's Spinach Salad recipe here or Kalyn from Kalyn's Kitchen's version with feta and other assorted yumminess here. There seem to be a million of them floating around this week, so if you've got another that you're loving, let me know!


smoo said...

You are correct. I DO want to make this salad. Yum!

Chef Christine said...

Told you so. :)

Dining Diva of Boca said...

sounds great. Especially as I have leftover roasted butternut squash from the other night. That'll make this quick and ez. One thing - I only have turkey bacon. Think it will work?

Chef Christine said...

Turkey bacon? That hurts my heart just a little bit. But if it's what you've got and what you like, heck yeah, give it a try. Let me know how it turns out!

Kalyn Denny said...

I'm such a fan of both butternut squash and spinach. Love the sound of this one, never thought of combining these two ingredients like this!

Chef Christine said...

It's really good Kayln - I hope you give it a try! The bacon dressing is really nice and pulls it all together.

Anonymous said...

You had me from "bacon"...

This sounds great--the Werrell family will have to try this soon!!!


Cathy S. said...

Made this last night and it was totally satisfying. Perfect for a cold, wet night. I am proud to say I only munched 1.5 pieces of bacon while fixing this! We didn't finish all of it. Do you think we can reheat it?

Chef Christine said...

Hey Cathy-Glad you liked it! You can definitely reheat it, but it will be more like a spinach side dish than a salad (which I personally don't think is a problem - do you?).

Just use partial power on your microwavr. Everybody wants to kill everything on full power, but if you use 50% power, it will be more gentle and reheat better. 1 1/2 minutes on 50% power and it should be wilted and yummy.

Shelly said...

Bacon in the fridge? Check.
Arugula in the crisper? Check.
Butternut squash leftover from our final CSA pick-up? Check.

Okay, this sounds perfect. I'm going to go fire up the oven.

Chef Christine said...

Rock on Person, and let me know how it is!!