March 9th, 2010

Make-Ahead Brunch Company (Part 2 of 3: Escarole Salad with Roasted Squash & Cheddar)

When planning my make-ahead brunch, I was looking for a hearty salad to pair with the Spinach and Cheese Strata. At first I considered something with, well, bacon (I told you I was conflicted about serving a brunch without breakfast meat!), but then I came across this salad. Hold the bacon, add the squash! It may not seem like the most exciting move but, trust me, you can’t get better than deeply caramelized chunks of butternut squash tossed with escarole, apple and high-quality aged cheddar. And then you get the satisfaction of having made a totally satisfying, meat-free brunch.

Making this salad—which also works great at lunch or dinner time—ahead is super easy. Simply roast the squash and make the dressing the night before you plan on serving the salad. Store both in (separate) air tight containers in the fridge. The day of your brunch, allow the squash to return to room temperature while you prep the rest of the ingredients. Then toss and serve.

Escarole Salad with Roasted Squash & Cheddar
from Martha Stewart
(can be adapted—or deconstructed!—for kids 6+ mos)*

1 small organic butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
1 tbsp organic olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
pepper
1 organic granny smith apple, quartered, cored & thinly sliced
1 head organic escarole, torn into 2″ pieces
2 1/2 ounces organic sharp cheddar, thinly sliced or shaved into ribbons

For the dressing
2 tbsp organic white wine vinegar*
2 tsp organic Dijon mustard
1 tsp packed organic light brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt, plus more to taste
pepper
3 tbsp organic olive oil

1. Prep the salad! Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss squash with oil, salt and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender and caramelized, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

2. Make the dressing: Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until emulsified.

3. Gently toss squash, apple, escarole and half of the cheese in a large serving bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with dressing and toss again. Top with remaining cheese.

*Note: Set aside and mash some roasted squash for eaters as young as 6 months. Older kids who can eat all of the ingredients, but haven’t yet taken to leafy greens can have their own escarole-free version (yummy squash, apples and cheese!). Consider using a minimal amount of dressing on portions for younger eaters and substituting apple cider vinegar for kids under 12 months.

6 Responses

  1. Christina says:

    Alright… I NOW you love Martha but….you gotta try my version

    http://recipes.slides.kaboose.com/269-15-easter-brunch-ideas/13

    Love these posts by the way. very helpful!

  2. cookiepie says:

    LOVE this – been looking for a salad for my little one’s upcoming birthday brunch, this is perfect!

  3. [...] oven and toss together a salad. THAT’S ALL. My menu was simple: A Spinach and Cheese Strata, Escarole Salad with Roasted Squash and Cheddar and a Lemon Blueberry Crumb Bundt Cake. At first I was worried about not offering breakfast meat [...]

  4. Oooh! We’re having a bit of a salad showdown over at our house – but this sounds fantastic. I think this combo might win the reluctant salad eaters in my family over. (Maybe! Hope springs eternal!)

  5. stacie says:

    yea. leafy greens (ie “leaves”) are not big in our house either. the good thing about this salad is that there is a lot of good (yummy & nutritious) stuff to pick out (squash, cheese, apple). Let us know if it works! And, if not, who cares… you’ll like it! :-)

  6. [...] recipe, I cut the squash into cubes which works well in salads: That’s how I do it for this Escarole Salad with Squash and Cheddar. Alternatively, you can roast the squash with its skin on. This works particularly well with Acorn [...]

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