Where has this fall gone? To think that Thanksgiving week is upon us baffles me. I’m not complaining though, as the classic dishes that inspire the season are some of my favorites. Sage and rosemary, cranberries, squash, turkey, roasted root vegetables, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, pumpkin…..comfort food at its best.
And then there’s the wine. A Thanksgiving table would not be right without a lovely match to those flavors. First let me introduce you to this salad I know you’re going to love and then we’ll get into a great wine pairing!
I love using butternut squash because it is so versatile and one of the easiest squashes to peel and cut. No hacking required. Not only does it taste wonderful, but it’s bright orange hue pops out of a dish every time. In this salad, I choose to cut it into round slices after seeing this post from The First Mess instead of cubing the squash like traditionally done. Isn’t it beautiful layered upon the spring greens and lentils?! Once assembled it’s drizzled with a Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette and a sprinkling of goat cheese if you’d like.
Simple yes, but totally delicious. My adaptations from her recipe include roasting instead of steaming the squash, (as I prefer the nutty, sweet flavor it evokes) as well as a different dressing and goat cheese instead of feta. This salad has several flavors going on – a savory, sweet caramelization from the squash, a subtle tang from the goat cheese, and the light vinaigrette that brings it all together.
This salad has several flavors going on – a savory, sweet caramelization from the squash, a subtle tanginess from the goat cheese, and the light vinaigrette that brings it all together. So what to pair it with? Let me introduce you to the Famiglia Meschini Malbec-Syrah blend. With silky tannins and dark berry flavors, especially plums, you’ll be hard pressed to find something that pairs as well with so many Thanksgiving dishes.
Not only does it go great with this salad, but with turkey it’s a slam dunk. I particularly like its rich and balanced structure, with a bit of spice on the finish that goes hand in hand with the season.
Even better? It averages about $9-$13 at many wine shops in the Twin Cities including France 44, Pairings Food and Wine Market, and South Lyndale Liquors. Happy Thanksgiving to all my family and friends – I hope it’s filled with many tasty delights!
-1 small to medium butternut squash, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch thick circles
-1 T olive oil
-1 c brown lentils
-3 c water
-4 c spring greens
-1/4 c olive oil
-1 T maple syrup
-2 t balsamic vinegar
-2 t real lemon juice
-1 T stone ground mustard
-salt and pepper to taste
-1/3 c goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush both sides of butternut squash with light coating of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and place on a baking sheet, not touching each other. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until tender while pierced with a fork. In meantime, add 1 cup lentils to 3 cups boiling water in a pot. Cook for 20 minutes or until lentils are soft, but not falling apart. Remove from heat and drain. Let lentils and squash cool. Put a layer of salad greens on a large plate. then a layer of lentils, then the squash. Mix balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard, maple syrup, lemon juice together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over salad, then top with goat cheese.
And one more thing, calling all food and wine lovers! In January, Eugenio and Teresa Meschini are welcoming their family from Italy as they host a very unique dinner at the Fine Line Music Cafe in downtown Minneapolis. I am very excited to be helping with this 4 course, authentic meal that Fernanda and PierLuigi Meschini, co-owners of Ristorante Da Piero in San Severino Italy, will be cooking. They’ll spend two days in the kitchen preparing their favorite Italian dishes from their 4 star restaurant, served alongside the finest wine from their vineyard. When you combine this with the company of good friends, it’s truly a night to remember. I’d love for you to join me! Tickets are $85 per person with more information HERE.