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Acorn Squash Sliders with Blue Cheese & Fig Mustard

Acorn Squash Sliders with Blue Cheese & Fig Mustard
I have a quibble with pumpkin. Okay, maybe it’s aimed a little bit more at the legion of people who have taken the humble gourd and exalted it as god just as Labor Day splits into white jean permissible and white jean not permissible. But that will be a tiny rant for another day. Instead, go pick up an acorn squash. Resist the temptation to eat it stuffed or slathered in butter that will melt into its flesh, especially if that inclination includes brown sugar. The temptation is real for a route that is certainly delicious, but focus with me on Acorn Squash Sliders.

Teatime created or cross-pollinated a market for sandwiches cut into skinny fingers, to be eaten with one’s fingers. But at some point you might find you want to broaden the possibilities of what might pop up on the three tiered plate for teatime. Roasted acorn squash gets a bit of savory spicing to play off of sweet Hawaiian rolls, a smear of  fig mustard, peppery arugula and a mellow blue cheese. This mini sandwich brings several flavors of fall into one action-packed bite. All that’s left to do is put a kettle on. Portion out the black tea.

Acorn Squash Sliders with Blue Cheese & Fig Mustard

Acorn Squash Sliders with Blue Cheese & Fig Mustard

Makes 12 sliders // serves 6

1/2 acorn squash, seeded, halved and sliced into 1/4-inch half moons
2 tablespoons olive oil1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
1/4 cup fig jam
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 cups baby arugula, washed
6 ounce blue cheese wedge
12 Hawaiian sweet rolls

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the squash half moons with oil, salt, cinnamon, and Aleppo pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until soft but not falling apart. In a small saucepan, warm fig jam and mustard until warm, about a minute or two. Slice the rolls open. Spread fig mustard on half the roll. Layer with arugula. Tile several slices of acorn squash on the arugula. Top with a slice of blue cheese–if it crumbles, it’s okay. Blue cheese is crumbly and that’s what it does naturally. Serve the sliders immediately.

 

 

PS: Construct and serve the sandwiches warm or after the squash has cooled completely. Your pick. I like the warm condiment smearing the bread. You might find you like the condiment enough to smear some on the top bun. However you roll, don’t skimp on the blue cheese.

PPS: Working ahead? Prepare the fig mustard and roast the squash half moons in advance if you like. Assemble the squash sliders right before serving.

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Recipes

Roasted Beet & Fennel Rocket Salad with Pomegranate Arils

SALAD RECIPES- Roasted Beet & Fennel Rocket Salad with Pomegranate Arils

I must admit my appreciation for arugula quadrupled once I heard that the Brits call it rocket. Who doesn’t want to eat a rocket salad? Okay, silliness aside, we have a newfound affection for the great sum of the parts making up this salad.

Roasting beets brings out their natural sweetness and it is my preferred way to enjoy them. This combination of roasted fennel with the beets is something truly special especially when you add in the bright burst of tartness in the pomegranate arils and the slight piquant quality of rocket. The pepitas give a bit of crunch. If you’re planning a dinner party and want a flavorful and colorful salad to liven up your winter table, pop into the oven a roasting pan of beets, fennel and celeriac.

roasted beet fennel arugula salad

 

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ROASTED BEET & FENNEL ROCKET SALAD WITH POMEGRANATE ARILS
YIELD: 4 side salad portions

SALAD

  • 3 golden beets
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • ½ celeriac
  • 1 tablespoon grapseed oil
  • 2 tablespoon pomegranate seeds (arils)
  • 2 cups rocket (arugula)
  • 2 tablespoon pepitas

 

DRESSING

  • ½ tablespoon shallots, minced
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • pinch of salt
  • cracked black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Peel beets and then cut into rounds. Lop off the bulb of the fennel from the limbs and then cut the bulb into rounds. With a paring knife, carefully peel off outer skin of celeriac, lop off the limbs and cut into chunks.
3. Place beets, fennel and celeriac on a roasting pan and sprinkle grapeseed oil over them. Rub the beets, fennel and celeriac in the oil to make sure all sides are coated.
4. Roast veggies for 45 minutes.
5. Let cool.
6. In a bowl, whisk together the grapeseed oil, champagne vinegar, salt and pepper with the mined shallots. Set aside.
7. Place rocket in a large bowl and add the cooled roasted vegetables. Sprinkle the pepitas and pomegranate arils on top. Mix in the dressing and toss to coat.

 

Roasted Beet Fennel Salad with Chicken a la Diable

MAKE IT A MEAL WITH

CHICKEN A LA DIABLE
So you want to make your roasted beet salad into more of a full meal? Easy- pair it with chunks of chopped up Chicken a la Diable. These chicken fingers had a good amount of heat that lingered and played off of the sweet roasted beets and fennel. For some added creaminess with the chicken, we tossed in some feta crumbles and sliced avocado. We followed the recipe pretty much by the book, with a few variations.

– STRIP IT: Go with chicken strips and you will exponentially increase the number of portions you can expect to feed. We cut up the chicken breasts into strips.

– GO WHOLE:  Substitute in some whole grain mustard with the dijon to give a textural delight to the dish.

– GLUTEN FREE? If you’re gluten free, make gluten free breadcrumbs by grinding up Corn Flakes or Crispy Rice cereal and use gluten free flour instead.

Serving size: 1 1/2 chicken strip chopped up on each salad

 

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