Honey Pumpkin Salad with Sage Croutons - 9/6/04

Honey Pumpkin Salad with Sage Croutons
This unusual salad is a wonderful starter to the meal. Toasted bread slices are rubbed with sage and pumpkinseed oil, then topped with vinegary apples, honey-roasted pumpkin salad and finely chopped persimmons.

1 sugar pumpkin or butternut squash (1 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
Eight 1/2 inch-thick slices of country bread
Roasted pumpkin seed oil, for brushing
5 sage leaves
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 Granny Smith apple, halved, cored and thinly sliced
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Fuyu persimmon, peeled and finely chopped (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a bowl, toss the pumpkin with the honey and the melted butter. Spread the pumpkin on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 35 minutes, or just until tender; let cool.

  2. Arrange the bread on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven with the pumpkin for about 5 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Brush the toasts generously with pumpkin seed oil and rub with the sage leaves. Spread the pumpkin seeds in a pie plate; toast in the oven for about 3 minutes, or until fragrant.

  3. In a bowl, toss the apple with 1/2 tablespoon of the vinegar. In another bowl, toss the pumpkin with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of vinegar. Season both with salt and pepper.

To Serve

  1. Set a crouton on each plate and top with the apple slices. Spoon the pumpkin salad and chopped persimmon over the apple slices. Garnish with the toasted pumpkin seeds and serve.

Servings: 8

Source: Food & Wine Magazine