(First, WOW. Thank you, all, for your congratulations, well wishes and kind words about my cookbook project. Way to make a girl’s week! I am so excited for the year ahead, and your enthusiasm is like having my own personal cheering squad. THANK YOU! It’s a tremendous feeling.)
Last Sunday I went on a farm tour. We boarded a bus in San Francisco, made our way through the city, over the foggy bridge, through the moodily gorgeous Marin headlands and up into Petaluma farmland. It’s remarkable country, close enough to the coast to entertain the Pacific fog daily, and far enough inland for perfect warm days.
David Little talks about dry farming
Pulling sunchokes from the ground
Little Organic Farm, our first stop, practices dry farming. That is, they don’t water their crops. Crazy, right? But in a place like California, with urgent water issues, the perennial threat of drought, and a long, rainless summer, dry farming is smart. The top layer of soil is compacted after spring rains to seal moisture in the deeper layers of soil. This yields smaller produce with a more intense, concentrated flavor. And given the nationwide drought issues this year, it seems a smart solution to huge water shortages.
Okay, let’s talk about this salad. This salad is perfection. Roasted potatoes in a salad? Genius. It is a perfect union of the gratifying comforts of potatoes with the wholesome satisfaction of a salad. And the delicata squash are roasted to caramelized perfection, and the arugula and pomegranate seeds just send it out of the park. It makes a huge quantity – one that will disappear surprisingly fast.
DELICATA SQUASH SALAD WITH ROASTED POTATOES AND POMEGRANATE SEEDS
adapted from Eat Good Food
Yield: 4-6 servings
1.5 pounds small to medium potatoes (the recipe calls for fingerlings, but these are from the farm we visited)
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium delicata squash
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
10 packed cups baby arugula (about 8 ounces)
seeds from one pomegranate (about 1 cup)
1 cup crumbled Feta (recipe calls for Parmesan)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Slice potatoes lengthwise in halves or quarters depending on size. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet, and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt over the potatoes. Toss to coat. Roast until tender and browned, about 20-25 minutes, turning once.
While the potatoes roast, prepare the squash. Slice in half lengthwise, and remove seeds and membrane. Slice into thin half moons, 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Arrange on another rimmed baking sheet (you may need two baking sheets for the squash), drizzle with one tablespoon olive oil and another 1/4 teaspoon salt and toss to coat.
Remove potatoes from the oven and add the squash. Roast until tender and just beginning to brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Next, prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, honey and 1/8 teaspoon salt with the shallots. Drizzle in the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil and whisk until emulsified.
In a large salad bowl, combine the squash and the potatoes. Drizzle with about half the vinaigrette. Toss to combine.
Add the arugula, half the pomegranate seeds and half of the cheese. Gently toss. Add more vinaigrette if needed. (I did not use all of it.)
Top with the remaining cheese and pomegranate seeds. Serve.