A salad to serve with leftovers

November 26, 2005|By BETTY ROSBOTTOM | BETTY ROSBOTTOM,TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

I have a tendency to concentrate my culinary energy on planning the all-important Thanksgiving menu and don't always give much thought to the rest of the meals for the long holiday weekend. However, if you have a houseful of company, like we will this year, there are several more days of feasting on the schedule after the holiday. Like most cooks, I count on leftover turkey to anchor many of these lunches and suppers. Our roasted bird's remains get sliced and fashioned into Dagwood-style sandwiches, cubed and added to soup and sauced and combined with pasta. But I am always searching for other dishes to complement turkey leftovers.

A colorful salad that I've made several times this fall seems to be a perfect fit for such post-holiday menus. Mounds of arugula topped with roasted butternut squash and fennel, all tossed in a vinaigrette, are garnished with shavings of Parmesan and a sprinkle of walnuts. You could use this salad as a side to a turkey sandwich or chowder, as an accompaniment for creamed turkey over rice, or as a partner to a baked pasta and turkey dish. You might even offer it on its own with a loaf of good crusty peasant bread for those who want a respite after too much indulging.

I love the robust taste of arugula in this salad, but tender baby spinach could be substituted with equally good results. As a time saver, I always buy peeled butternut squash at my local supermarket. Then I need only to cube the squash and slice the fennel before popping the vegetables into the oven for 30 minutes. Once roasted, the squash and fennel can be left at room temperature for several hours so they won't take up refrigerator space.

The accompanying recipe is for four but can easily be doubled or tripled.

Betty Rosbottom writes for Tribune Media Services.

Menu

Turkey chowder, crusty bread, fall salad with roasted butternut squash and walnuts, cranberry juice spritzer

FALL SALAD WITH ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND WALNUTS

Serves 4

12 ounces peeled and seeded butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes (see note)

1 medium fennel bulb, halved lengthwise, tough core removed and halves cut into 1/2 -inch wedges

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

pinch of cayenne pepper

8 cups arugula or baby spinach, stems removed and discarded

1/2 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped (see note)

1 (3- to 4-ounce) chunk Parmesan (preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano), at room temperature

Line a large baking sheet with foil. Spread squash on half of baking sheet and fennel on other half. Drizzle vegetables with 2 tablespoons olive oil, then salt and pepper well. Roast on center rack of preheated 375-degree oven, stirring every 10 minutes, until vegetables are slightly browned around the edges and tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 30 minutes. Remove squash and fennel and cool to room temperature. (Vegetables can be roasted 6 hours ahead. Cover loosely with foil and leave at room temperature.)

In a large serving bowl, whisk remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil with vinegar, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt and cayenne pepper. Remove 1/3 of dressing and place in a medium bowl along with roasted vegetables and toss. Add arugula to large bowl and toss with remaining dressing.

To serve, divide arugula evenly and mound on four salad plates. Then divide roasted vegetables evenly and scatter over each salad. Sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts. Using a cheese shaver or vegetable peeler, shave several slices of Parmesan cheese over each salad.

Note: Most supermarkets sell packages of peeled and seeded butternut squash, and some sell it cut in cubes. Look for peeled squash in the produce section of the grocery. To toast walnuts, spread on a rimmed baking sheet and place on center shelf of preheated 350-degree oven until fragrant and lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Watch carefully. Remove and cool.

Per serving: 415 calories, 14 grams protein, 35 grams fat, 7 grams saturated fat, 16 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 14 milligrams cholesterol, 401 milligrams sodium.

Analysis by registered dietitian Jodie Shield.

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