Fig and Delicata Squash Salad

for the squash:
1 delicata squash, sliced into 1/4 inch half-moons, seeds reserved
1 tablespoon fennel pollen
freshly ground black pepper
canola oil

for the seeds:
1/2 cup raw delicata seeds, rinsed clean
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

for the salad:
10 fresh figs, halved
10 oz watercress
1/2 red onion, sliced
4 oz crumbled blue cheese (gorgonzola is good)
4 oz prosciutto

to serve:
prosecco or other white wine vinegar


Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss together the squash, a drizzle of canola oil, salt, pepper and fennel pollen. Arrange in a single layer on the lined baking sheet. In a small bowl, stir together the seeds, oil, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and oregano. Place on the baking sheet next to the squash.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the squash is fork-tender. Allow to cool about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss together the salad ingredients. Divide between two plates for a meal, 4 four as a side dish. Top with squash and seeds. Drizzle with vinegar and serve.

My thoughts:

Our fig trees are doing so well this year! It’s been a wet, hot summer but apparently, that is what all of the fruit trees in our yard love. They are all really producing! We have hundreds of beach plums, dozens of pawpaws and a huge amount of figs. This year is the first year we’ve been able to harvest anything from our “Little Miss Figgy” tree, which is smaller than the average fig tree, and the figs are great! Very flavorful and they have great stems which makes it easy to pick them off the tree without damaging the fruit. a major plus when you want to serve them raw.

Delicata squash is one of my favorites. It’s in season this time of year. Many people think it’s a winter squash like butternut but it is actually summer squash like zucchini that is consumed when it matures in the late summer or early fall. You can eat the skin which makes it a breeze to prepare. I hate having to peel the bumpy skins off winter squash! It makes meals with it much faster. I pulled this together for a quick lunch and it took only about half an hour, including cooling the cooked squash. Initially, I had thought to add nuts to the salad but then I thought–why not use the seeds? It’s nice not to have them go to waste and the squash cooks so quickly, you can toast them on the same pan as the squash.

The flavors are perfect for late summer. The fresh sweetness of the figs, the peppery watercress, the creamy cheese, salty prosciutto,  floral fennel pollen, crunchy seeds, and the earthy squash hit all of my flavors and textures in a salad. I didn’t feel the need to make a formal dressing, there is enough oil left clinging to the squash and seeds that just a quick splash of vinegar was enough.

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