Warm Winter Salad with Sesamiso-Citrus Vinaigrette

Hi y’all. It’s been a few weeks, once again, and I apologize, but I have an awesome winter salad for you that is sure to win your forgiveness. And tomorrow, I’m making a three-bean chili that can satisfy everyone on the spectrum from carnivore to vegan. For now, let’s get down to business.

For the dressing:
1/3 cup. sesame oil
1 tbsp. miso paste
1 tbsp. tahini
1 tsp. honey or agave nectar
1/2 lime, juiced and zested
1/4-1/2 lemon, juiced and zested

To start, you can make the dressing and let all the ingredients get familiar with each other while you work on the body of the salad. Measure out the sesame oil, miso, tahini, and honey, then zest the lime and lemon (I imagine orange would be delicious with this, as well) and add to the mix. When you’re done zesting, cut the lime/lemon into halves or quarters and juice them. Beat the dressing with a wisk or a fork until everything is combined, then set aside.

For the salad:
1 1/2-2 lbs. brussel sprouts
2 cups. butternut squash, peeled and shaved
1/2 cup. shallot (1 medium) or red onion (1/4 medium), thinly sliced
sesame oil
2 oz. goat cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Cut off the remaining stalk of each sprout, then peel off the outermost leaves (they are generally a little beat up and dirty) and either discard or wash thoroughly and use in a soup. For this recipe, we’re concerned about presentation and we want as many of the leaves as possible to be intact and blemish-free. Once you have removed the outer leaves, cut another chunk off of each stalk and begin to peel off whatever leaves can be easily removed, and throw them into a strainer. Eventually you will work your way into the center, or bulbs of the sprouts, where the leaves are too tightly packed to be removed without tearing — save these bulbs for another recipe, all we want are the bigger leaves. When all of the leaves are in the strainer, rinse thoroughly with cold water and shake dry.

what we want

what we save

Put a large sautee pan or wok on medium-low heat and add sesame oil. Cut the shallot or red onion into thin slices and see that you have at most 1/2 cup. Now we turn our attention to the squash: cut off the top and bottom, then peel off the skin, and perhaps go a little deeper until you get to the bright orange flesh.
Peel the squash into thin strips. Ideally, we want each strip to be approximately 2 in. long, so just cut the longer strips as you see fit. If we peel in a quick motion, and we have a little luck, a lot of the strips will form these beautiful little curls.
Let’s check if the oil has heated, and that the brussel sprout leaves are mostly dry. If so, add the onion, squash, brussel sprout leaves, and a little salt and pepper. Toss the mixture continuously to make sure that everything gets evenly heated. We are not looking to cook the squash, necessarily, neither the brussel sprouts nor onions, we really just want to wilt everything enough that most of that raw, bitter flavor is tamed.
For my taste, I would say this took 5-7 minutes of cooking, and I tossed the mixture every 30 seconds or so. When everything has broken down enough, turn off the heat and add the dressing, tossing thoroughly. Serve warm with little hunks of goat cheese, and perhaps one last sprinkle of salt.

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