All over America, people are eagerly planning their Thanksgiving feasts. I've lost track at the number of tweets, posts, and articles that scream "you should be thinking about Thanksgiving all the time". Well guess what...I'm not. I've never been that in to Thanksgiving food so even though I took a class dedicated to Thanksgiving decadence last weekend and my friends are hosting a pre-Thanksgiving ("Brunchgiving") this weekend. I sort of want to crawl into a dark hole and wait for New Year, but I'm not a total Scrooge. For "Brunchgiving" I'll be making this salad which is a great addition to the Thanksgiving table. With all that turkey and gravy and stuffing, you need something light to ease the guilt. I made a few changes to the original recipe. First, I reduced the pomegranate juice. I didn't want to make pomegranate molasses, but I wanted a more concentrated pomegranate flavor. I also switched out arugula for the dandelion greens because the dandelion's bitter bite may be off-putting to some. Arugula has just enough peppery freshness that a crowd can appreciate. I thought about using candied, spiced nuts in place of the pine nuts, but I actually enjoyed the melow nutty flavor the lent to the salad and of course juicy pomegranate arils always brighten things up. This is a great salad full of fall flavors and I can't wait to make it again not only this weekend, but for a dinner party I am cooking for soon. I'm sure all my friends will love it.
Arugula Salad with Pomegranate and Roasted Acorn Squash
(Adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2005)
Makes 3-4 servings
For the dressing:
5 tablespoons pomegranate juice
2 1/4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 1/4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
For the squash:
1 tablespoon butter, cut in half
1 unpeeled small acorn squash, halved, seeded and cut into 12 wedges
For the salad:
8 ounces baby arugula, washed and dried
3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
Salt and pepper
To make the dressing:
Bring the pomegranate juice to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the juice has reduced to two tablespoons. Set aside to cool.
Whisk the juice and vinegars in a bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Re-whisk before using.
To make the squash:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.
Melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the squash. Cook until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer the squash to a the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining butter and squash. Sprinkle the squash with salt and pepper. Transfer the squash to the oven and bake 15-20 minutes until the squash is softened and cooked through.
Mix the greens with half of the dressing. Divide among plates. Top the greens with some squash, sprinkle of pomegranate seeds, and a sprinkle of pine nuts. Drizzle each plate with more dressing.