Cold, dark days call for warm, bright salads.
By Annemarie Ahearn
The Danish have a wonderful word, hygge (pronounced hooga), meaning “coziness and togetherness.” Hygge can be channeled through the warmth of a fire, a celebratory toast, or a shared meal that celebrates life indoors when daylight is in short supply. Around the holidays, I often compose salads that have richness in color, diversity in texture, and warmth in flavor — usually a vegetable roasted until golden brown and then arranged on a bed of hearty greens. While it’s only a small gesture, a warm winter salad contributes beauty to the evening meal and helps bring hygge to those gathered at the table.
Roasted Delicata Squash and Autumn Greens
1 head garlic
½ cup olive oil, divided
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 delicata squash
3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
2 tablespoons honey
1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
zest and juice of a lemon
2 bunches fall greens (such as mustard, kale, or Asian greens),
torn into bite- size pieces and tougher parts removed (this may include ribs)
½ cup shelled pistachios
¼-pound wedge Parmesan
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the stem end off the head of garlic (exposing the tops of the cloves) and rub with a little olive oil and salt. Cut the squash (skin on) in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds with a spoon. Then cut each half lengthwise into 6–8 wedges and cut each wedge in half widthwise. On a large sheet pan lined with parchment paper, toss the squash in 4 tablespoons olive oil, a generous amount of salt, ground pepper, thyme leaves, and honey. Nestle garlic into squash. Roast in oven until the squash pieces are soft in the middle and golden brown on the top and bottom, 35–45 minutes. Remove the garlic after 30 minutes.
To make the dressing, squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and into a blender. Add the Dijon, cider vinegar, and lemon zest and juice. Buzz for a few seconds. Add olive oil and blend until fully incorporated. Let sit for at least 10 minutes so that the flavors can meld. Season with salt and pepper to taste.Remove the squash from the oven and let cool slightly.
To assemble the salad, place the greens into a large wooden bowl and dress with half of the dressing. Lay the squash pieces on top and give salad a gentle toss. Sprinkle the pistachios over the top and shave long strips of Parmesan throughout. Serve remaining dressing in a little bowl on the side for those who like a well-dressed salad.