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Author Notes: A sugar pumpkin has been sitting on our window sill since Hallowe'en. After smiling at it for several days, I finally decided to roast it and combine with two of my favorite Spanish offerings: Serrano ham and Manchego cheese. Matched with a hint of smoked paprika and a wildflower honey and grilled lemon vinaigrette, it makes for an interesting appetizer. Feel free to substiute with prosciutto, if you can't find Serrano ham at your grocer. —menumaniac
Serves four to six
For the salad
- 1 sugar or pie pumpkin, peeled, cleaned and cut into 1 inch cubes
- Pumpkin seeds, reserved from pumpkin and cleaned
- 4 cups arugula
- 4 thin slices of Serrano ham, torn into pieces
- 1/4 cup Manchego cheese, shaved
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
For the grilled lemon & honey vinaigrette
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- 1 1/2 tablespoons wildflower honey (regular honey is fine too!)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, toss 1-inch pumpkin cubes with olive oil and thyme. Place in single layer on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Check halfway through and turn if neccessary.
- Meanwhile, bring a small pot of well salted water to a boil. Add pumpkin seeds. Simmer for 10 minutes. Drain. Toss with a smattering of kosher salt and smoked paprika. Place in single layer on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. (You can cook these while the pumpkin is roasting, just keep an eye on it because the seeds can burn rather quickly.)
- For the dressing, grill or broil the lemon, flesh side down for about 5 minutes. Cool. Juice about 3 tbs of lemon juice into a small bowl. Combine with honey and a pinch of fresh ground pepper. Slowly whisk in olive oil until you get your desired consistency. Taste and adjust flavors as neccessary.
- To prepare the salad - in a large bowl, toss arugula and vinaigrette. Place arugula on four salad plates or you can leave in the large bowl to serve family style. Top with roasted pumpkin, Serrano Ham, Manchego cheese and roasted pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Autumn Salad