This week from our Open Oak Farm CSA we received a bonanza of delicata squash. In the past I've roasted these squash with spices and scooped them into soup. But recently I learned from Heidi Swanson's blog 101 Cookbooks that you can eat the delicatas' thin skin, eliminating the need for scooping or peeling. Inspired by this recipe, I roasted up a dish of delicata pieces, tossed with sweet smoked paprika and fennel seeds, which my daughter found so tasty that she dubbed them "squash candy".
Another new smoked paprika recipe in my repertoire is this one for Smoky Fried Chickpeas by Aliwaks of food52, flavored with lemon peel, thyme, and garlic.
It occurred to me that the paprika-spiced meaty chickpeas and soft sweet squash would pair nicely in a winter salad. I had some remaining Open Oak Farm kale leaves, which I chopped and tossed with lemon juice and olive oil. For an extra kick of heat, saltiness, and crunch, I topped the salad with a dollop of my new favorite condiment, harissa, and some roasted delicata seeds. It proved to be a delicious combination, and I looked forward to packing some for lunch, but my daughter had polished off the supply of squash candy.
Paprkia Chickpea, Delicata and Kale Salad
Roasted Delicata Squash Pieces
1 delicata squash
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Trim off the stem and blossom ends of the squash and halve lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds (an ice cream scoop works well for this), reserving the seed for toasting. Cut lengthwise again and then cut the quarters into 3/4 inch wide pieces. Transfer to a baking dish and toss with the olive oil and spices. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally.
Toasted Delicata Squash Seeds
Separate the seeds from the pulp, but don't be too careful about it because the toasted seeds taste best with a little sweet, caramelized squash goop. On a baking sheet, toss the seeds with a tablespoon of olive oil and generous sprinkle of salt. Toast them in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes until they start to brown, but be careful not to let them burn. You can also toast them in a toaster oven.
Smoky Fried Chickpeas, adapted closely from Aliwaks from food52
1 cup dried chickpeas (or two cans of cooked chickpeas)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp smoked paprika (sweet, or a combination of sweet and spicy to taste)
peel from 1 lemon, cut into thin slivers
4 sprigs thyme
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
salt to taste
1. If using dried chickpeas, rinse and add them to a pot with a couple of thyme sprigs and enough water to cover them by an inch. Simmer on very low heat until they are soft, 1-3 hours depending on the dehydration of the beans. Remove the thyme sprigs and salt to taste. Drain and dry on a kitchen towel spread out in a baking dish.
2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet. The oil is hot enough if a tester chickpea sizzles when it is added to the pan. Add enough chickpeas such that the bottom of the pan is just covered and they are not crowded. Add a similar proportion of lemon slivers and thyme leaves to portion of chickpeas being fried at the time. Fry, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas have crisped up and turned a toasty color, and transfer to a bowl. Cook the remaining batches of chickpeas as you did the first. Finally, fry the garlic slices until crisp and toasty brown.
3. When all the chickpeas and garlic have been fried, toss them with the smoked paprika and salt to taste.
This recipe makes more than enough chickpeas for the salad below, but these are also a great snack on their own.
Kale Salad (2 main meal salads or 4 sides)
~4 kale leaves
juice from 1 lemon
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup roasted delicata squash pieces (above)
1/2 cup smoky fried chickpeas (above)
1/4 cup toasted delicata squash seeds (above)
harissa to taste
Cut the green parts of the kale from the stem running through the leaves and slice into thin slices. Toss the kale leaves with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Layer on the chickpeas, delicata squash pieces, and a sprinkle of toasted squash seeds. Serve with harissa.
Other salad variants:
Top kale or other greens with the chickpeas and cubed avocado
Top kale or other greens with roasted squash pieces and fresh pomegranate seeds
Top kale or other greens with roasted squash pieces and crumbled stilton cheese