RECIPE: Roasted Red Kuri Squash Salad with Fried Goat Cheese, Black Walnut Butter and Sherry Maple Vinaigrette

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For the squash:

1 small red kuri squash

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Salt to taste

For the Black Walnut Butter:

2 cups shelled black walnuts

1 teaspoon sunflower oil

½ cup sugar

Salt to taste

For the Maple Sherry Vinaigrette

1 cup Grade B maple syrup

2 ounces sherry vinegar

¼ cup sunflower oil

For the Fried Goat Cheese

4 ounces fresh goat cheese

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 egg

1 cup bread crumbs

Vegetable oil for frying

To finish the salad:

12 red oak leaf lettuce leaves

½ cup toasted black walnut pieces

¼ to ½ cup freeze-dried or fresh pomegranate seeds

Prepare the squash: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and seed squash. Cut flesh into 2-inch pieces. Toss in a bowl with oil and salt to taste. Spread squash on a baking sheet. Do not crowd the pan. Use two pans if needed. Roast squash until tender, 25-30 minutes. Remove squash from the oven and set aside.

Prepare the Black Walnut Butter: Toast the walnuts in a dry, heavy skillet over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Place warm walnuts, oil, sugar and salt in a food processor and blend mixture until is creamy. Remove walnut butter to a small bowl and set aside.

Prepare the Maple Sherry Vinaigrette: In a medium-size bowl, whisk together maple syrup and sherry vinegar. Slowly whisk in the oil. Set vinaigrette aside.

Prepare the Fried Goat Cheese: Divide the goat cheese into 4 equal-size pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Place flour in a small, shallow bowl. Place bread crumbs in another small, shallow bowl. Whisk egg in another small, shallow bowl. Roll goat cheese balls in flour, then the egg, then the bread crumbs, then the egg again, then the bread crumbs again. Arrange coated goat cheese balls on a plate and put into the refrigerator. Place oil in a deep, heavy pan to a depth of 2 inches. Heat oil to 350 degrees. Deep-fry goat cheese balls 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a plate.

Assemble salad: Lay out four dinner places. Smear about 1 tablespoon of Black Walnut Butter across each plate. Toss 2 cups of roasted squash with ¼ cup of the Maple Sherry Vinaigrette. Arrange equal amounts of squash to one side on each plate. Place 1 Fried Goat Cheese ball on each plate. Fan three lettuce leaves on each plate. Drizzle on a little more Maple Sherry Vinaigrette onto salad. Garnish with toasted walnuts and freeze-dried or fresh pomegranate seeds. Makes 4 servings.

Source: Revery, http://www.reverygreenwood.com

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