Inspired by Fall and Fresh Express, I whipped up this salad the other day after a long day shoe shopping. It was the easiest thing to do after unsuccessfully scouring the racks for size 11.5 Women's riding boots that didn't already have a ridiculous 3 1/2 inch heel (At 6' I don't exactly feel the need to be any taller, it just hurts my posture). This salad came together in no time, and served slightly warm, made a lovely autumn accompaniment to the lobster bisque and fresh bread Tha HIZ and I had for dinner. This is my new favorite Fall salad - the sweetness of the pumpkin countered by the salty tang of the feta all melded together in a sage bath sings harvest-time deliciousness. I was feeling fancy -and heck - it was a Saturday night and I felt like living large so I made fried sage leaves as a topping. If you're feeling gastrosexual, do this by all means.
16 oz cubed pumpkin (or butternut squash, kabocha, miscellaneous red-orange fleshed squash)
1/2 large red onion, sliced
1/3 cup feta, crumbled
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup loosely packed chopped sage, plus extra for frying
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for frying and sprinkling on roasted vegetables
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 bag (approx 5 oz) Fresh Express Spring Mix Salad
1/4 cup roasted pepitas or hulled pumpkin seeds (not shown)
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss pumpkin and red onions with a few tablespoons of olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper in cooking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes (When 20 minutes are up, allow vegetables to cool for 10 minutes before adding to salad). Meanwhile, dice shallot and garlic, whirl in food processor (if you don't have one, just dice everything as small as possible and mix together) with olive oil, vinegar, sage, salt and pepper. Set aside. To make fried sage leaves: pour about 1/4 inch of olive oil in a frying pan, heating oil on medium-high. Once oil is hot, place sage leaves in gently, turning heat down as not to burn the leaves. Cook for about 1-2 on each side then let leaves rest on a paper towel until ready for grand finale. To assemble salad: pour out lettuce, top with roasted pumpkin and red onions, feta, dressing, pepitas and top with fried sage leaves. Goes great with an Oregonian pinot noir!