Thursday, September 30, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Almond Crusted Chicken




This last week of September has been wonderfully sunny and warm. I'm not quite ready to prepare the heartier meals of fall, but summer fare seems tired and passé. Today's dinner was a blend of autumn and summer - lots of salad greens topped with roasted butternut squash and a tangy, winey, maple-flavoured cranberry onion dressing. To go with it, a simple chicken breast, coated with almonds and fresh herbs. 


It all came together remarkably well. I've begun cooking with pen and paper, usually a scrap of an envelope so that I can record what I do in the kitchen. I tend to cook, as I've said before, by grace, not law. 


Roasted Butternut Squash Salad


1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse salt


8 cups of mixed salad greens


Dressing (recipe follows)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the squash on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and toss all together with your hands. Bake, stirring once for about 30 minutes or until the squash cubes are tender and lightly caramelized. Let cool slightly.


To assemble the salad, place two cups of mixed green on each of 4 plates. Top with some of the butternut squash cubes, then drizzle a generous spoonful or two of the dressing over top. Serve immediately.


Dressing


1 small onion, finely minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, minced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1-2 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


Heat the olive oil in an open skillet. Add the onion and sauté until tender and slightly golden. Add the red wine and and chicken broth. Stir. Bring to a boil and allow to boil steadily at medium heat until the liquid is reduced to about 1/2 its original volume. Add the rosemary, cranberries, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Season to taste. Let cool slightly.




Almond Crusted Chicken


4 chicken breasts, slightly pounded to flatten
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 cloves garlic
several stems of fresh parsley
several stems of fresh rosemary, leaves removed and stems discarded
salt to taste
2 Tablespoons olive oil


Note:  2 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour can be added to the coating mixture for more thorough covering. Cornstarch or almond flour could also be substituted. 


On a large cutting board, place the almonds, garlic, parsley and rosemary. Finely mince all together. Place in a pie dish or plate. Coat the chicken breasts with the mixture.


Heat the olive oil at medium heat until it begins to shimmer slightly. Gently lay the chicken breasts in the hot oil and cook until done, turning once. This will take 2-4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts.


Slice each chicken breast and place on plate alongside of salad. 



1 comment:

Dishesdone said...

This looks delicious! Thanks for the comment on my blog! I'm enjoying your recipes and photo's!