I created this salad with local vegetables and other locally sourced products for a party earlier this fall. The balance of flavors worked so well, it was a mix of things that was meant to be. - lisaiscooking —lisaiscooking
Test Kitchen Notes
Cutting the kale into fine ribbons and massaging balsamic vinegar into it helps tenderize and wilt the often bitter green. Roasted butternut squash and lightly spiced pecans lend both sweetness and a variety of textures to this brightly colored salad. - Lauren —The Editors
extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cakes
chimayo chile powder or cayenne powder or to taste
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Peel the squash, cut in half and remove seeds. Cut squash into 3/4-inch cubes. On a large baking sheet, toss cubed squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes or until squash is tender and allow to cool. The squash should be tender but not mushy. It should hold it's shape when tossed in the salad but still be cooked through. (The squash can be roasted a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator.)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk one egg white with chimayo chile powder, sugar, and a good pinch of salt. Whisk just until the egg white is foamy. Toss the pecans in the egg white mixture and stir to coat the pecans well. Using your hands, place pecans on a parchment-lined baking sheet leaving excess egg white in the mixing bowl. Toast in the 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes checking from time to time to be sure the pecans are not getting too brown. (The pecans can be toasted a day or two in advance and stored in an airtight container.)
Cut thick parts of ribs from leaves of kale. Then, cut leaves in half lenghthwise and then into ribbons crosswise. Soak cut leaves in a large bowl of water. Swish to remove grit, and then allow grit to fall to bottom of bowl. Pick leaves up out of water and place in basket of a salad spinner and spin dry. Placed washed leaves in a large mixing bowl. Add finely diced red onion. Pour two tablespooons aged balsamic over kale and onion and squeeze and scrunch the leaves with your hands. You want to tenderize the kale and work the vinegar into the leaves.
Add roasted squash cubes, toasted pecans, two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste, and carefully toss to combine so squash cubes remain whole. The oil used in roasting the squash along with the pecans add richness to the salad, so nut much additional olive oil is needed. I used about two tablespoons, but taste as you add.