Saturday, November 8, 2008

An Autumnal Salad

I am a fan of summer salads. It's always nice to have something cool and crisp on a hot day, especially if it doesn't require the use of the stove. But when the weather turns cool and the days end sooner, the typical salad gets traded out for heartier fare. Fortunately, this dish encompasses the bright vinaigrette of a great salad with richer, more satisfying ingredients. Lentils provide great earthy texture, complemented by spicy keilbasa and creamy sweet squash. Delicata squash has become my newest infatuation, since it's skin is tender enough to leave on and it's flesh is richer and creamer, and altogether more, well, delicate in flavor than butternut or acorn. The mustardy bite brings it all together in a satisfying meal.

Black Lentil, Sausage and Squash Salad

1 medium delicata squash, seeded and cubed
ancho chile powder
Chinese 5 spice powder
garlic powder
salt and pepper
1 link of lite kielbasa, sliced down the middle
1 package Trader Joe's precooked black beluga lentils
1 1/2 tsp spicy white wine Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp Chianti wine vinegar (I actually used 1 Tbsp plus a Tbsp of orange muscat vinegar - but it's hard to find)
drizzle of maple syrup
1/2 tsp chile oil
1/2 tsp garlic oil
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Toss cubed squash with some olive oil to coat and a generous sprinkling of chile powder, 5 spice powder, garlic powder and salt and pepper. Turn out onto a large sheet pan. Roast until squash starts to caramelize and even blacken slightly at some of the edges.

Meanwhile, grill the keilbasa over high heat, until nicely charred. Remove and wrap in aluminum foil to keep it warm. Reheat the lentils according to package instructions. Combine the remainder of the ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to make the dressing. When squash and lentils are done, toss them in, followed by chopped keilbasa. Let sit for at least 5 minutes to soak up some of the dressing. Serve while just slightly warm for a punch of flavor.

P.S. As you can tell from the posting date on this, I've had it in the archives for a while, I just couldn't seem to get it typed out. Forgive me, there are more recipes on the way!


ttfn300 said...

my my, this looks perfect :)

Angela said...

Wow! What an incredible array of flavors packed into one gorgeous dish. I LOVE this. Nice work!

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