Oh October! The favorite month of many, with scarves and boots, changing leaves and Halloween. And squash! How could we forget squash?
While the masses go wild for pumpkin everything, why not expand your horizons and try some other types of squashes, such as this beauty - the delicata. It's my favorite squash; for its sweet soft flesh, and the skin that's so thin you can eat it. I love the way it makes scallops around the edges of these delicata rings.
In Chinese Medicine, we stress the importance of eating seasonally. Eating the food that grows around you, during it's peak ripeness. Not only does it taste better, but it supports your body in transitioning to the new season. The harvest time, or Late Summer, is represented by the Earth element. The Earth element correlates to the colors yellow and orange, so eating lots of squashes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and other yellow and orange foods is a good way to survive the change to sweater season.
This is a decedent salad, one that will easily wow the socks off a dinner party, or your Thanksgiving guests (if you can even think that far ahead). The truffle oil gives it that extra specialness, and even though it's expensive, a little goes a long way.
1 large delicata squash, about 1-1 1/2 lbs
1 cup hard winter wheat berries
¼ cup slivered almonds
1 very small garlic clove, minced
2 tsp golden balsamic vinegar (or other vinegar)
2 tsp almond oil (or more olive oil)
2 tsp black truffle oil
¼ cup oregano, chopped
2 oz crumbled goat cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice both ends off of the squash, then slice into 1/2" thick slices. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and membrane from of the middle of each slice. Pour a tablespoon or two of oil onto the baking sheet and dredge the slices through it, coating on both sides, then sprinkle generously with salt. Roast them in the oven for 25-30 minutes, flipping once halfway. Once they are soft all the way through, you can put them under the broiler for a few minutes to get the outside nice and brown. Set aside.
3. While the squash are roasting, combine the wheat berries and 2 cups of water in a heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or more, until they are tender, but still pop. Drain the excess water if you need to. Set the wheat berries aside.
4. Place almonds in a small, dry skillet over medium heat and toast until browned and fragrant, just a few minutes.
5. Finally, make the dressing by squishing the garlic and some salt together to make a paste. You can use a mortar and pestle, or the side of a chef’s knife. To the garlic paste, add the vinegar and oils. Whisk to combine.
6. To assemble the salad, toss the wheat berries with most of the almonds, oregano and all of the goat cheese. Pour the dressing on top and stir to coat. Carefully stir in the squash slices (or just lay them on top) and finish with the remaining almonds and oregano, and serve.