Califonia Bountiful
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Aquilani salad

Aquilani salad


1 cup arugula
2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
1 cup roasted kabocha squash (recipe follows)
4 tbsp. pomegranate vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Pomegranate reduction (recipe follows)
1 tbsp. candied walnuts
2 tbsp. pomegranate seeds

Roasted kabocha squash
1 cup kabocha squash cubes (peel and cut squash into 1/2-inch cubes)
1 1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper ?Kosher salt, to taste

Pomegranate vinaigrette
1/2 cup fresh or bottled pomegranate juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. honey
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Pomegranate reduction
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/8 cup pomegranate juice
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped

This salad represents where Italian chef Fabrizio Cercatore is from. And, he says, "it's light enough to accompany your favorite pizza to make a well-rounded and delicious meal."


For squash: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, toss squash with olive oil, cinnamon, crushed red pepper and salt. Put on a sheet tray and roast until very soft, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

For vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, mix juice, vinegar and honey. Let sit for 10 minutes. Whisk in oil and adjust seasonings. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Stir thoroughly before using.

For reduction: Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 10 minutes, whisking occasionally, until sauce is thickened and reduced by about one-third. Chef's note: Save the extra as this quite a versatile sauce. It can be served over lamb chops, pork tenderloin, broiled fish or steak.

To serve: Put arugula and pumpkin seeds in a mixing bowl. Dress with 4 tbsp. pomegranate vinaigrette and toss. Drizzle each plate with pomegranate reduction. Stand arugula in the center of each plate and add squash in triangular position around arugula. Finish by sprinkling walnuts and pomegranate seeds evenly over salad.

Serves 2