An Autumnal combination — you get the sweetness, nuttiness, crunch, and the tahini in the dressing brings it all together. Kabocha is Japan’s pumpkin — slightly flattened and green dappled with white. Its flavor is similar to pumpkin, but sweeter. If you can’t find kabocha squash, substitute acorn or delicata. With its assertive creaminess and mild saltiness, the French feta, made from sheep’s milk, is particularly good in this dish, but you can definitely substitute your favorite feta. This recipe was adapted from the blog honestlyyum.com by Adrienne for a class Brookside November 18 2015.
1 kabocha squash
½# shiitake mushrooms
1/4 C olive oil
1 C of wheatberries, cooked
1/3 C hazelnuts
2 large handfuls of baby arugula or kale
1 T tahini
1 T honey
juice of 1 large lemon
1 T apple cider vinegar
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil (more as needed)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven 400 degrees. Halve kabocha across its equator and scoop out seeds; using a large chef’s knife, cut squash into wedges. Toss wedges with half the olive oil and lightly season with sea salt and black pepper. Roast squash 25-30 minutes until tender. Remove and discard stems from shiitake; slice tops into strips. Toss in extra virgin olive oil and lightly season with sea salt and black pepper. Roast in the 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until they begin to get dark and crispy around the edges. (You can also roast the shiitake and squash together, just remember to remove the shiitake before the squash).Toast the hazelnuts in a small pan over medium heat. Keep the hazelnuts moving to prevent them from burning. When you begin to smell their fragrance, remove them from the pan. Cool and chop roughly.
Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk tahini and honey; add lemon juice and vinegar and incorporate well; slowly add olive oil and continue whisking until the ingredients are emulsified and the dressing is smooth; if the dressing is too thick, add more olive oil to achieve the right consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
To assemble the salad, arrange the squash wedges on a plate. Combine the arugula, hazelnuts, shiitake mushrooms, and wheatberries in a bowl and toss with dressing. Place the salad between the wedges and top with several cubes of French feta; drizzle with additional olive oil.