Warm Apple-Fennel Salad with Roasted Opo Squash

>> Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Yesterday, I dazzled and amazed you with the freak show-worthy size and weight of that opo squash. Today, I'd like to tell you: It's worth more than novelty. Opos taste great! I was quite surprised when I cut into the flesh and found the texture was much more like a zucchini or eggplant. I guess I was expecting it to be hard, more like an acorn squash. I kept my plan simple and roasted large coin-cuts in the oven until they browned and became slightly crispy.

Lesson learned: Don't let weirdly shaped, oddly large produce items intimidate you. Forge ahead and make something delicious.


The instructions for roasting are really as easy as I just wrote above.
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line a rimmed cooking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil.
  3. Slice the opo squash (or eggplant, zucchini, etc.) into as many coins as will fill the pan.
  4. Then drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  5. Cook on one side until lightly browned. Then take out and flip onto the other side. Cook until well browned.
  6. Serve immediately.
Anyway, our friend Kevin was over, as I mentioned yesterday, and we wanted to feed him more than roasted squash. But it was early afternoon, so a full-on dinner wasn't really in the cards. No worries, though. I whipped up a warm apple-fennel salad for all to enjoy.

This dish works well for two large servings, or as a side for four.


It features some pretty awesome ingredients, too:



WARM APPLE-FENNEL SALAD (with KALE)

What you'll need . . .
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Four heaping handfuls of kale
  • 3 to 4 small apples, chopped
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • Equal amount of fresh fennel, chopped
  • 10 pitted dates, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grape seed oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes


Method . . .
  1. Prepare your crispy kale by heating the 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat in a stock pot. Throw in the kale. Cook on high heat, stirring occasionally, but allowing parts to get crispy/burned a bit, until you reach your desired crispy kale-ness. Keep in the stock pot -- you'll be putting everything back in here later.
  2. Chop all your other ingredients and toss into another pan, spritzed with a bit of oil. Cook over medium-high heat until everything is a bit tender, but still somewhat crisp, for around 5 to 8 minutes.
  3. Then mix together the grape seed oil, apple cider, balsamic vinegar, and red pepper flakes.
  4. Throw the veggies/fruits into the kale pan. Drizzle everything with the oil mixture. Cook over medium heat until warmed.
  5. Serve with the roasted opo squash coins for a light dinner.

Though I'm not a huge fan of cold salads, warm ones delight me. This one's unique because the fruit gives it an extra punch of flavor -- so the dates and apples are definitely key. The dressing can be adjusted to meet your specific tastes, and if you come up with something great -- please let us know!

What's your favorite salad? Are you like me -- a vegetarian who isn't a huge fan unless there's tons of avocado? Or do you eat one daily, maybe even twice a day? We'd love to know! Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.


Also! We're happy to report that -- as of today -- we've reached over 2,000 subscribers! Stay tuned later this week for details on a special giveaway, featuring a copy of Caitlin Boyle's new book: Operation Beautiful.

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