This pretty dish takes a new look at “salad” for the colder months! A warm winter salad such as this is a lovely, moreish change from the fresh light greens of summer, or from your regular pan of roasted root veggies. It features local winter veggies and fruit, with a touch of salty prosciutto to round out the flavours.
What on earth is a Quince?
Quince is a fruit that lands somewhere between an apple and a pear – I recently heard it described as “a fuzzy pear that refuses to ripen”. It is quite hard and astringent, and tastes horrible raw, but quince roasts or cooks up into an absolutely beautiful thing! It retains some of its astringency and tartness, and also becomes sweet and soft and light – gorgeous!
If you can’t find quince in your area, pomegranate is a wonderful substitute in this winter salad, as is pear or citrus, all of which are in season from approximately October throughout the winter.
To make this salad vegan or vegetarian friendly, you can substitute the prosciutto for salty olives or capers. Don’t skip the salty flavour in this salad!
Warm Winter Salad (Serves 4-6)
1 medium kabocha or large acorn squash, cut in 4-6 wedges
1 large fennel bulb, sliced
1 large or 2 small quinces, sliced (or arils of ½ pomegranate*)
zest of 1 orange
4-6 slices compliant prosciutto, sliced in narrow ribbons (or 1 Tbsp capers/small handful olives*)
drizzle quality olive oil
*if substituting pomegranate, use arils fresh at end of salad assembly, do not roast them.
*if subbing olives or capers, add after roasting.
Preheat oven to 375F. Place squash wedges on a lined baking sheet, and arrange fennel and quince on a separate lined baking sheet. Roast squash for 20 minutes, then add fennel tray to oven as well. Roast both pans another 20-30 minutes or until squash is soft and fennel and quince are starting to brown slightly. While they are roasting, zest your citrus.
Remove squash, fennel and quince from the oven, and arrange squash wedges on a platter. Top each wedge with equal amounts fennel, quince, prosciutto (or olives/capers), and citrus zest. Sprinkle with optional pomegranate arils, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve salad by the wedge, and serve warm.