26 July 2010

Cuisine du Terroir Challenge Goes for Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

If you have been following More Than Burnt Toast you will know that I have been creating my own personal challenges based on a theme to infuse new life into my cooking adventures. Face it,  I have been uninspired in the kitchen lately so needed a boost! If I can't live my dream and travel the world visiting every cooking school in every country the next best thing is to bring my own kitchen to life!!! Even every day food should be an adventure either with new ideas or experimenting with a new cuisine. Every day we should be excited about what we are eating even if it just means making use of an inspirational find at our local farmers market for our favourite comfort foods

As my third personal challenge after is My Face Red (and White) and My World is Blue (Lavender) I am creating a menu from appetizer to dessert that highlights British Columbian cuisine and ultimately Okanagan cuisine. I have included a few recipes from local chefs and wineries. My Cuisine du Terroir Challenge reflects what our local producers have to offer.

The most direct translation of the concept of terrior is “food of the earth”. Terroir is a French term used to describe the unique flavour imparted to food or drink by a region’s specific climate, soil, weather and growing conditions. I chose “Cuisine du Terroir” as the concept for my next challenge because to me it means food with a strong sense of place. It has been 15 years since we packed all our belongings and moved across the country from the province of Ontario to live here in the Okanagan Valley in "God's Country. I can't envision anywhere else as my home and have the cascading vineyards and orchards, turquoise lakes, beaches and majestic mountains are running through my veins.

To start us off I offered my own version of Lamb Sliders with Lemon-Mint Sauce for my Cuisine du Terroir menu using local lamb. A quick trip to the farmers market this time of year will inspire you to get creative in your own kitchen and create a second course that celebrates the season. I chose an Ina Garten recipe that celebrates the harvest in this seasonal salad. Squash are just beginning to show up at our local roadside stands and farmers markets.

 Maple syrup is a product of eastern Canada but I easily substituted birch syrup, a locally made product, for roasting the butternut squash. A savoury salad with a hint of sweetness from the smoky syrup. Serve to applause and enjoy!!

**Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette**

1 (1 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, 3/4-inch sliced
Good olive oil
1 tablespoon pure maple or birch syrup
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 ounces baby spinach, washed and spun dry
1/2 cup walnuts halves, toasted
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.

While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Serves 4

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. This looks amazing!! Makes me long for 60 degree weather (I don't know, just does)...and that picture of your terroir...breathtaking!

  2. Valli: I'm so enjoying your self-imposed challenge. This recipe has just gone into my "fall" file. The flavors and colors remind me of autumn in all it's splendor (and my favorite time of the year)!!


  3. Very interesting post. Cuisine du terroir as well as Terroir in wines is somehting that needs to be understood to get hold og regionality and its impact in life. I believe that Regional Cuisine is closer to the meaning of terroir in French. You may be interested in reading my post where I speak about this concept!

  4. A wonderful recipe! That combination is heavenly.



  5. Love the vibrant colors in this salad! Butternut squash is one of my favorites.

  6. This looks delicious Val! I have been rationing that bottle of birch syrup you sent me long ago! It is so good!

  7. What an unusual and lovely salad. I'm surprised the squash holds it shape so beautifully. Another triumph, my dear. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  8. SO gorgeous, Val!! And I just happen to have spinach and butternut squash at my house!! HOORAY! I love that you're doing recipes from your locale. :-) BC is so beautiful and I look forward to more of your delectable creations. :-)

  9. I wish I had heard of Birch syrup before our last trip, I'm always looking for fun things to bring home!

  10. Gorgeous salad, sweet, savory, a little grilled smoke and filling.

  11. I've never heard of birch syrup but I could subsist on anything that involves butternut squash and be incredibly happy! This looks like one delicious salad.

  12. Oh my goodness, I would love that salad.

  13. Beautiful scenery and salad! Butternut squash will be in the local fresh markets late summer/early fall. I'll have to save this recipe. I'll probably have to use maple syrup though- I've never seen birch syrup. It sounds lovely though,as does this dish. Thanks for sharing :)

  14. Now I feel challenged! Wow. Just yesterday I was given three butternut squash from a private garden and wondering just what to do. And, there you are with my answer.

  15. Wow, nice salad, love the combination of ingredients (fruity) and the color is so tempting...beautiful!

  16. roasted squash is deeelicious, and that vinaigrette is uniquely appealing. yet again, val, you've gotten my stomach a-rumblin'!

  17. Val, you are so very blessed to live where you do. I LOVE roasted squash and will definitely make this. We were at the beach this weekend and now I have to catch up
    xoxo Pattie

  18. She's Cookin'July 26, 2010

    Butternut squash and spinach - two of my favorites! I love the vibrant colors and your thoughtful challenges.

  19. wonderful challenge. The dish looks absolutely beautiful.

  20. This looks soooooo amazing!

  21. Squash in your market? Can fall be far behind? Yikes!
    I saw Ina make this salad, Val, and it really tempted me.

    I also loved your explanation of terroir cooking..I assume all the fish we eat in Florida is an example, although we eat fish all year round. Still, that's what terroir means, right? What's available, grown or raised in MY area.

  22. You have it exactly right Barbara, terroir means using whatever you have available to you where you live in your part of the world. The French had terroir cooking down long before we ever heard about being a locavoreor the 100-Mile Diet.

  23. This is beautiful Val and I love butternut squash!

  24. When I first looked at the photo, I thought it was peaches. Squash sounds wonderful, too.

    Your part of the world is just breath-takingly beautiful. Do you wake up every morning and hug yourself with the delight of living there?

  25. Butternut squash is the best! The salad looks delicious. This is a keeper! Thank you.

  26. I love every single ingredient in this wonderful salad...can't wait to try it.

  27. Birch syrup: very interesting. I didn't know about it. Butternut squash is my favorite squash, so I am lining up to get a taste of your dish.

  28. Val...this warm vinaigrette is so exceptional that I'm astounded that I didn't make a similar dressing sooner. Ahh...this wonderful world of talented bloggers.
    Out of all the squashes...
    Butternut and Buttercup (when I can find it) are my very favourites.

    Great eating. Thanks.

    BTW...I went looking if you had a salmon patties recipe...and yes you had one great recipe...so I decided to share it on my post ;o)

    Have a wonderful day,

  29. These are some incredible flavors, and looks wonderful:)

  30. I looove roasted vegetables and this looks like a perfect salad to showcase them in.


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