the life and times of J T Frey

Crisp Fall Salad

This recipe is a mashup of several salad recipes we found online and in cookbooks. The roasted squash, pumpkin seeds, and smoky gouda are meant to evoke a feeling of fall. We happened to have a bottle of grenadine on hand (Juliet had a thing for Shirley Temple sodas at one point) and the sweet pomegranate dressing went perfectly against all the other flavors.

Serves 4 adults

Prepared toppings:

  • ¼ lb bacon, diced
  • ½ cup bread cubes (½ inch dice)
  • 1 butternut squash, ½ inch dice
  • ½ cup wild rice
  • salt and pepper
  • light olive oil

For dressing:

  • 3 tbsp grenadine syrup
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp celery seed, ground
  • ¼ tsp mustard seed, ground
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 3 tbsp light olive oil

Finished sald:

  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1 granny smith apple, ¼ inch dice
  • 4 oz gouda cheese, diced
  • sunflower seeds, roasted and salted
  • pumpkin seeds, roasted and salted

The night before you plan to serve the salad:

  1. Cook the bacon until crispy. Remove to a paper towel.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of the rendered bacon fat and toss with the bread cubes. Continue cooking over medium-low heat until the outside of the bread has browned slightly. Remove to a paper towel.
  3. To 1 cup of boiling water, add a pinch of salt and the wild rice. Cover and simmer until all liquid has been absorbed, then drain in a mesh sieve. Run cold water over the rice to cool quickly.
  4. Toss the cubed squash in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil to coat and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast at 400 °F until the edges of the cubes just begin to char. Remove from oven.
  5. Wait for all items to cool then refrigerate until service.

Prepare the dressing ahead of time, as well:

  1. Combine all ingredients except the olive oil. Whisk well to combine.
  2. While whisking, drizzle the olive oil into the mix. When the mixture is homogeneous and thickened, transfer to a container and refrigerate until service.

To serve the salad:

  1. Wash and tear the romaine into bite-size pieces.
  2. Shake the dressing to mix (if necessary). Reserve 2 tbsp, then pour the rest over the romaine. Toss to distribute the dressing.
  3. Split the dressed lettuce between 4 plates.
  4. Sprinkle 1 tbsp each of sunflower and pumpkin seeds over each salad.
  5. To each salad add an equal portion (in this order) of the squash, rice, apple, cheese, bread cubes, and bacon.
  6. Top each salad with a drizzle of the reserve dressing.

Written by Jeff Frey on Thursday September 29, 2022
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