This is a recipe that Barefoot Contessa replicated. She transported a salad served at a French bistro in Paris to her house, and served it to her husband. (I saw her make this recipe on her TV show eons ago when I was unemployed and had tons of time to watch cooking shows.) I switched out Butternut Squash and opted for Sweet Potatoes because I had a ton of them in my kitchen.
I made this dish for my dad. Mainly because he thinks I never cook anything that’s good for you. I may have liked this salad more than he did. I could make this recipe a million times over and probably never get sick of it.
- 1 (1 ½-lb) sweet potato squash, peeled and 3/4-inch) diced
- Good olive oil
- 1 T. pure maple syrup
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 T. dried cranberries
- 4 oz baby arugula, washed and spun dry
- ½ c. walnuts halves, toasted
- ¾ c. freshly grated Parmesan
- Shallot Dijon Vinaigrette
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Peel and dice sweet potato and place on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the sweet potato for 20 to 30 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.
- While the sweet potato is roasting, prepare your Shallot Dijon Vinaigrette.
- Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted sweet potato mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
To roast walnuts, all you really have to do is stick them on a cookie sheet in the oven while it’s heating and remove the cookie sheet once you can begin to smell the aroma of the roast nuts. I suppose this method isn’t fool proof. (Last time I roasted nuts I burned of few of them but there was also butter involved that time.) I removed mine when I heard the oven beep to alert me that the oven was done preheating.
I had very low expectations for this dish because a) it’s salad and I’m not a huge salad fan and b) I’m not overly fond of sweet potato or Dijon mustard. However, the varying flavors worked really well as a whole. I liked this salad so much I immediately went back for seconds!
You should take the time to freshly grate the parmesan cheese for this dish. I did and I think it made a big difference. There are few things better than freshly grated parmesan cheese!
I can’t imagine this dish would taste good an hour after preparing it much less as leftovers the next day, so you may want to serve it when you’re cooking for at least four people (or more if you’re only serving it as a side instead of an entree type dish).