This time of year, I can’t get enough of the sweet, rich flavor of winter squashes. For any lover of butternut squash, kabocha is a revelation. It’s sweeter and creamier than butternut, with a deeper orange interior.
Because of its intense sweetness, it goes particularly well with tart or tangy flavors, in this case, green olives (cerignola) and salty blue cheese (Point Reyes, from California). As the greens for the salad, I’m using baby arugula–nice and peppery/lemony. All together, with a dressing of red wine vinegar, agave and olive oil, these ingredients absolutely sing!
Salad of Kabocha Squash, Green Olives and Blue Cheese
1/2 of a medium-sized kabocha squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 1″ pieces
5 oz. package of baby arugula
6 large green cerignola olives, pitted
2 oz. blue cheese
1 1/2 tsps red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp agave nectar
1 tbl + 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Spread squash cubes on baking sheet and drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt and a sprinkle of black pepper.
Roast the squash at 375 degrees for approximately 40 minutes, until tender and slightly caramelized, turning halfway through.
Set aside to cool.
Combine the greens, oil, vinegar and agave and toss. Taste and add salt and pepper.
Mound greens in center of plates and top with squash, olives and crumbled cheese.