Perhaps I delude myself (as do millions of other Americans) when I presume that I’m being healthy by having a salad. Bring on the bacon & ranch dressing I say!! No really… I’m always trying for the balance of hearty and healthful and this salad is a perfect example. One of the ways I accomplish this is to make dramatic reductions in fat – but only where it won’t be missed. For example, the formula that applies to a dressing’s acid-to-oil balance can often be tweaked. Especially if the acid is a softer choice such as a sweet vinegar (like an aged balsamic) which needs very little oil to counterbalance.
This salad was inspired by one of Ina’s, and because the apple cider puts this dressing on the sweet side, I was able to cut the oil in half. It’s delicious – even my “salad wary” hubby said so – and I especially enjoy it while the butternut is still warm from the oven. A generous shave of Parmigiano takes the flavor up a notch and adds only a modest number of calories. When it comes to the classics such as Parmigiano (the king of cheeses) I don’t mess with perfection! Indulge in a wedge of the authentic Italian stuff – aged no less than 20 months for the most flavor. My fridge is never without one…
2 lb. butternut squash, peeled and diced (3/4 inch)
1/4 cup + 1 T olive oil
2 T (pure) maple syrup
kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup apple cider
2 T white balsamic vinegar (or champagne vinegar)
2 medium shallots, minced
2 tsp Dijon mustard
7 oz bag of arugula
1/2 cup toasted walnuts halves
3 oz. Parmigiano Reggiano, shaved
Preheat to 400. On sheet pan, toss the butternut squash with 1 T olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Roast the squash for 20 minutes (or until tender), stirring once midway. Combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the mixture is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Remove from heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Toss salad with vinaigrette, sprinkle with S & P and serve.