Apple-Pomegranate Salad, and a Last Minute Fix

I’ve been so busy with work lately that this blog, and cooking in general, have been seriously neglected. Yes, I got to spend a week running around New York City attending fashion shows – which was hilarious in and of itself considering I spent the last few years primarily wearing polyester chef whites – but the highlight was a delicious meal at Del Posto.

All the food was amazing, but during that meal I had my first bite of winter squash this season in the form of pumpkin ravioli. Those few bites awoke a fierce squash craving that usually comes on pretty strong once the leaves start turning, so when it came time to think of a vegetable dish (my assignment) for Yom Kippur break the fast, that was the first ingredient that came to mind.

I’d planned a delicious salad with pomegranate seeds and roasted butternut squash, among a few other key ingredients. In fact, the biggest problem I thought I was facing was cutting down the number of ingredients – sometimes I get a little carried away. It turns out that wasn’t the biggest problem, but rather it was that the damn butternut squash had NO flavor! None! Zilch! It was completely bland after roasting in the oven with salt, pepper, olive oil and rosemary. I was fighting a bit of a cold so I had my sister taste to make sure, and she spit it out it was so bad!

Serious squash FAIL! There was no choice, it had to be trashed. I’ll admit I nearly shed a tear, I was just so disappointed. Plus, there wasn’t enough time to go back to the store before guests started arriving so I had to act fast and take stock of what was available in my parents’ kitchen, and quickly decided the only good option was to cut up a few Gala apples.

I tossed the apples with lemon juice to preserve the color, then with mixed greens, pomegranate seeds, toasted pecans, caramelized shallots (leftover from when I thought I was serving butternut squash), Manchego cheese, and my go-to balsamic vinaigrette. Shockingly, this somewhat last-minute salad was a HUGE hit, so much so that I actually got pulled away from my own dinner to mix up another batch. That NEVER happens with my family!

Here’s the recipe for this delicious fall salad:

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