Roasted Butternut Squash Rounds with Sage Leaves

This simple fall side dish is a delightful alternative to roasted potatoes. The deep orange rounds of squash caramelize as they roast in the oven, releasing their natural sweetness.
It’s a perfect savory holiday side dish, quick and easy to prepare.

Serves 4 to 6

Two 3-pound butternut squash with long necks
1 tablespoon Garlic Oil (see below)
10 to 15 sage leaves, chopped, about 2 tablespoons
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400º F.
Cut the squash at the base of the neck, reserving the bulbous part with the seeds for another dish. Remove the stem and skin of the neck and cut into ¾-inch thick rounds. You should have about 12 slices.
Lay the squash slices on a baking sheet. Brush both sides of the slices with garlic oil and sprinkle with the sage and a little salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, then use a spatula to loosen the rounds. Cook another 5 minutes, until the squash is tender and the color vibrant. Serve warm.

Tip: Be sure to select butternut with slender, long necks –you’ll be using the necks- and save the bulbs with the seeds for a soup or ragout.

Garlic Oil
Mince a few garlic clove, and cover with extra-virgin olive oil. You can use it right away or let it steep for 30 minutes to create more intense garlic flavor. We add 1 tablespoon minced garlic to every ½ cup oil, but it’s up to you — use as little or as much garlic as you like. Strain out the garlic and store the oil in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.

Recipe from Everyday Greens by Annie Somerville, Executive Chef, Greens Restaurant

Tomatillo Sauce

This smooth, tangy sauce is great with tortillas, polenta, and just about any dish made with corn.  The tart taste of the tomatillos mellows as they simmer with onions, green pepper, and chilies.  For a hotter sauce, add another jalapeno or serrano chili, or try a smoky, dark green poblano. You can make the sauce a few hours ahead of time, but no earlier or it will lose its fresh, clean flavor.  We serve it with enchiladas and Masa Harina Crepes with Summer Vegetables, Chilies, and Cheddar or Roasted Winter Vegetable Enchiladas.

Makes about 2½ cups

½ tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
½ medium yellow onion, chopped, about ¾ cup
Salt
Cayenne pepper
½ medium green pepper, coarsely chopped, about ½ cup
1 or 2 jalapeno or serrano chilies, seeded and chopped
1 pound tomatillos, husked and chopped
Sugar (optional)

Heat the oil in a medium-size saucepan and add the onions, ½ teaspoon salt, and a pinch of cayenne.  Cook over medium heat until the onions begin to soften, about 3 minutes.  Add the pepper and chili and cook for 1 minute.  Add the tomatillos, cover the pan, and cook over medium-low heat until the tomatillos break down and release their juices, 15 to 20 minutes.  Puree in a blender until smooth.  Adjust the seasoning with salt, cayenne, and a pinch or two of sugar, if needed, to round out the flavor.

Tip: 

Soak the tomatillos in a bowl of warm water before you husk them.  The warm water will soften the husks and loosen them from the sticky skin of the tomatillos.  Peel them a day ahead if you like.

The ripeness of the tomatillos makes all the difference in the flavor of the sauce.  Sometimes you can find really ripe ones in the market; they take on a yellowish color and there’s a wonderful lingering taste that’s just like bananas.  If the sauce is sharp, add a spoonful of crème fraiche to smooth the flavors.

Roasted Japanese Eggplant Salad with Pine Nuts and Capers

The rustic flavors of this exceptionally good summer salad bring out all the complexity of the
roasted eggplant. Crunchy, toasted pine nuts and fragrant basil balance the little bites of pungent
capers, while balsamic and red wine vinegars add both sweetness and intensity. This recipe is
similar to caponata, but the eggplant is roasted – not fried – so it is lighter and much easier to
prepare. We use slender, firm Japanese eggplant here; it holds its texture when roasted and
absorbs far less oil than traditional globe eggplant. This is a great dish for a party; serve it with croutons, olives, and marinated fresh mozzarella.

Serves 6 to 8

2 pounds Japanese eggplant, sliced ½ inch thick on the diagonal
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper
¼ large red onion, finely diced, about ½ cup
Red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
20 large basil leaves, stacked and sliced into thin ribbons, about ¼ cup
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Sugar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375º F.

Toss the eggplant in a large bowl with the oil, garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt, and a few pinches
of pepper. Lay the slices in a single layer on baking sheets and roast for 10 minutes. Rotate the
pans, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes more. When the eggplant is cool enough to
handle, slice it into ¼-inch thick diagonal strips.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil and drop in the onions for 20 seconds. Drain and toss
with 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar. Combine the eggplant, capers, pine nuts, basil, and onions in a large bowl. Toss gently with the balsamic vinegar and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and a splash of red wine vinegar, if needed. If the salad is tart, add a pinch or two of sugar.

Recipe from Everyday Greens by Annie Somerville, Executive Chef, Greens Restaurant

Green Beans and Shelling Beans with Cherry Tomatoes

Young shelling beans – available at farmers’ markets throughout the summer months – are the big deal here, cooked until completely tender and dressed warm, so they soak up the sharp Champagne Vinaigrette. You can use different varieties of beans; just be sure to cook them separately, as the cooking time will vary with their size.

Serves 4

Champagne Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
½ pound shelling beans: cranberry, cannellini, or flageolet, shelled, about ¾ cup beans
½ pound fresh summer beans: yellow wax or Blue Lake green beans, green or yellow.
Romano, stem ends trimmed and cut in half on the diagonal½ cup ripe, little cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley or ½ teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
Salt and pepper
Champagne vinegar

Make the vinaigrette and set aside.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil and drop in the shelling beans.  Lower the heat to a gentle boil and cook until completely tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.  Taste the beans to be sure they’re ready before you drain them.  Drain and toss in a large bowl with half of the vinaigrette and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  Set aside to cool.

Bring a medium-size pot of water to a boil and salt lightly.  Cook the fresh beans separately, allowing 2 to 3 minutes for green beans, 4 to 6 minutes for yellow wax, and 6 to 8 minutes for large Romano beans.  Scoop them from the water with a strainer; rinse under cold water and drain.  Toss the fresh beans into the shelling beans along with the remaining vinaigrette and the herbs. 

Just before serving, add the tomatoes and season to taste with salt, pepper, and a splash of vinegar, if needed.

Champagne Vinaigrette
Makes a generous 1/3 cup

2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine everything but the oil in a small bowl.  Gradually whisk in the oil until emulsified.

Tip:  If shelling beans aren’t available, just make the salad without them and increase the cherry tomatoes to a full cup.

Corn and Fire-Roasted Poblano Salad with Cilantro

We feature this zesty summer salad with quesadillas, guacamole, and Fire Roasted Salsa.  The combination couldn’t be better.  Be sure to taste the roasted chilies before adding them to the salad; though usually mild, they can be surprisingly fiery. 

Serves 4 to 6

 

¼ large red onion, diced, about ½ cup
1 tablespoon Champagne or rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ears corn, shaved, about 4 cups kernels
Salt
¼ cup water
Fire-Roasted Poblano Chilies, peeled, seeded, and diced, about ½ cup
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
Cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro

Bring a small pot of water to a boil and drop in the onion for 20 seconds.  Drain and toss with the vinegar to draw out its pink color.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan.  Add the corn, ¼ teaspoon salt, and sauté over medium heat for about 1 minute.  Add the water, lower the heat, and cover the pan.  Simmer, covered, until the corn is tender, about 5 minutes. 

Transfer to a bowl and toss with the chilies, onion, lime juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, and a pinch of cayenne.  Set aside to cool. 

Just before serving, add the cilantro and season to taste with salt and cayenne.

Tip:  To make this salad even easier, you can prepare the separate elements ahead of time and combine them at the last minute.  The poblano chilies keep well for several days in the refrigerator or can be frozen and defrosted just before using.

Italian Butter Beans with Meyer Lemon and Tarragon

Large, starchy Italian butter beans are our choice for this versatile, year round salad.  If Italian butter beans beans aren’t available, use cannellini, white runner, or any large white bean instead.  Allow plenty of time and cook the beans gently, so they hold their shape when tossed with the vinaigrette. 

Serves 4 to 6  Makes about 4 cups

1½ cups Italian butter beans, about 9 ounces, sorted and soaked overnight
8 cups water
1 bay leaf
Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
¼ large red onion, finely diced, about ½ cup
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
Pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Drain and rinse the beans.  Place them in a large saucepan with the water and bay leaf and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer until they’re tender but still hold their shape, about 1½ hours. Make the vinaigrette and set aside.  Bring a small pot of water to a boil and drop in the onion for 30 seconds.  Drain and toss in a small bowl with the vinegar.

Drain the beans and toss them immediately with the onions, vinaigrette and a pinch or two of pepper.  Marinate for 30 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally as the salad cools.  Just before serving, add the tarragon and parsley.

Meyer LemonVinaigrette

If Meyer lemons aren’t available, use regular lemons instead.

2 teaspoons Meyer lemon zest
3 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk everything but the oil together in a small bowl. Slowly pour in the oil, whisking until emulsified.

Makes about ½ cup