Crispy Prosciutto, Butternut Squash and Kale Salad

Prosciutto, Butternut Squash, and Kale Salad

Crispy Prosciutto, Butternut Squash, and Kale Salad. Bowl and plate by Crow Canyon Home.

Ahhhhh, it’s fall again! Harvest-colored leaves, fresh crisp air, winter squashes, and, if you live in San Francisco, freakishly warm weather. While it’s 80 degrees and sunny outside, my Farmer’s Market is bringing to me (and you) some delicious squashes this fall. Acorn for baking, spaghetti for pasta substitutes, and butternut for roasting. So we’ll take this gift of butternut squash from fall Farmer’s Market and pair with  late season avocado and crispy proscuitto. Finish this salad off with a little lemon zest and you have yourself a complete, perfectly balanced, Paleo salad (see!? Paleo CAN be tasty!). So whether you’re cozying-up like my sister in Portland with rain and 50 degrees or with me with sun and 80, you can feel good about this delicious, healthy fall salad. 

And now….drumroll please…the recipe.

Ingredients for crispy prosciutto, butternut squash, and kale salad

Ingredients for Crispy Prosciutto, Butternut Squash, and Kale Salad

Crispy Prosciutto, Butternut Squash, and Kale Salad

I’d like to note two things before we start this recipe to settle any angst you may have about making this gorgeous salad. One: Crispy Proscuitto is hard to spell but not hard to make. Two: I’m going to show you the easiest way to make your own salad dressing. In sum: this recipe is easy. Easy like Sunday Morning (laaaa-aaahh-aaaahhh-aaahhhh….cause I’m easaaay). Now that you have the confidence and song in your head, let’s get cooking.

Salad Ingredients
1 small butternut squash
2 tbs olive oil
salt & pepper
1 6oz package proscuitto
1 small head dinosaur kale
1 avocado
zest of 1 lemon
more salt & pepper

Salad Dressing Ingredients
1/2c olive oil
1 egg yolk
2 tbs champagne or white wine vinegar
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt & pepper

First, start by roasting the butternut squash. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel the squashes hard outer layer, cut in half, scoop out seeds, and chop into 1/2 inch cubes. Or just buy the pre-cut stuff at Safeway. Toss the butternut squash in the olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper generously, and place squash on a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until slightly browned. Roasting not only softens the squash, it also brings out a carmel-y, sugary flavor that balances well with salty proscuitto.

I'm not roasted yet

I’m not roasted yet

I'm roasty and delicious!

I’m roasty and delicious!

Start a large pot of salted water on the stove (to use for blanching kale later) and an ice-bath in a large bowl (for cooling kale later).

Prepare the crispy proscuitto. In a non-stick pan over medium high heat, place large pieces of proscuitto and cook until slightly browned on each side. Set aside on a towel-covered plate to cool down and soak up excess oil (this is how they crisp up).

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It’s gettin’ hot in here

Lookit me, I'm crispy!

So take off excess oils

Wash kale and cut into small pieces. Blanch kale in boiling water for about 2 minutes or until it turns a bright green. Use a slotted spoon to remove the kale from the boiling water, then quickly “shock” the kale in the cold water and drain. This stops the cooking, cools the kale, and helps the kale retain the bright green color.

I'm washed and ready to go!

I’m washed and ready to go!

I'm blanched and shocked!

I’m blanched and shocked!

Now make the salad dressing. This is my easy, cheater emulsification. Technically, you should whisk or use a food processor to make sure all ingredients perfectly emulsify (a process whereby water-soluble ingredients surround the globules of oil-ingredients to blend together into a perfect single dressing). As you’ve found, I love shortcuts and anything that requires me to clean one fewer dish. I put all ingredients into a tupperware and shake it like a polaroid picture.

Shake it, shake shake, shake shake it

Shake it, shake shake, shake shake it

Now, to prepare the final salad. Toss kale lightly in salad dressing, place crispy proscuitto around the plate, add roasted butternut squash, avocado, and lemon zest. And wherever you are, in whatever weather, you can cozy up knowing that this salad is healthy, balanced, delicious, and bringing you all the comforts of fall and homemade cooking.

Perfectly crispy, balanced, salty, sweet, and healthy Crispy Prosciutto, Butternut Squash and Kale salad.

Perfectly crispy, balanced, salty, sweet, and healthy Crispy Prosciutto, Butternut Squash and Kale salad. Bowl and plate by Crow Canyon Home

Roasted Tomato, Toma-toh Soup with Basil Olive Oil

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Roasted heirloom tomato soup with basil olive oil, avocado, greek yogurt

You say tomato, I say “IT’S TOMA-TOH SEASON!” Our farmer’s markets are being invaded by these delicious gems of all varieties – the best of which being the heirlooms. Heirloom tomatoes, according to my dad and Wikipedia, are non-hybrid tomatoes, meaning they haven’t been genetically altered to withstand weather, transportation, insects, and Papa John’s pizza sauce makers. Not that I have anything against genetically mutated tomatoes – they’re the only ones you can find when you’re craving a tomato salad in January – but the O.G. heirlooms, though much more delicate, are riper, fresher, and have a ton more flavor. Buy them fresh and eat them quickly because they will spoil quickly (side-affects of not being a hybrid).

The season for heirlooms are the peak of summer time, which coincides with San Francisco’s foggiest, coldest weather. So for this reason I picked up some heirlooms at the Fort Mason Farmer’s Market and made what any rational San Franciscan would make in August: hot, roasted tomato soup.

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Local heirloom tomatoes from the Farmer’s Market and basil from my fire escape garden

Roasted Tomato, Tomat-oh Soup with Basil Olive Oil

Since tomatoes are the key ingredient in this recipe, make sure you buy the best you can find. I recommend heirloom tomatoes in all different varieties from local farmers for a rich, ripe tomato soup. The soup is made a touch spicy with a thai pepper and topped with avocado, basil olive oil and greek yogurt. It’s fresh, fast, and oh-so-tasty. Say tomato, tomato-oh and let’s get roasting!

Note 1: The basil olive oil for this recipe can be kept for about a month and used in multiple ways: drizzle on grilled bread, in scrambled eggs, finishing sauce for grilled fish, and over fresh greens. 

Note 2:The recipe can be made vegetarian by subbing chicken stock with vegetable stock. 

Ingredients
A big handful of basil (this is a scientific measurement, I swear)
1/2c olive oil (for basil olive oil)
2 pounds heirloom tomatos
2 cloves garlic, skins removed
1 thai chille pepper
1 small shallot, cut in 4
olive oil for roasting
salt & pepper
smaller handful of basil
1/2c chicken or vegetable stock
For topping: greek yogurt and avocado chunks
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Set the oven to 400 degrees. Slice tomatoes in half, removing any imperfections and stems. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle tomatoes, garlic, thai chili and shallot with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt & pepper and roast in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Note that your oven will likely smoke a bit using olive oil as olive oil has a low smoking point. We could solve your oven’s smoking problem by using a higher smoking point oil like vegetable or grape seed, but the taste of olive oil is super important in this recipe. Instead of solving the smoking problem, open your oven a few times during the process and open a window or back door. 

And now for some photos of some roasting tomatoes…

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Tomatoes pre-roasting

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We’re roasted!

Since we’re super efficient human beings, we’re going to make some basil olive oil while those tomatoes are roasting. It’s simple. Put olive oil in food processor, add a large handful of basil (equates to about 1/2c), puree and then add S&P to taste. Whee.

Basil Olive Oil in the making

Basil Olive Oil in the making

Set the basil olive oil aside, but don’t wash the food processor because (a) all those ingredients are in the soup anyway and (b) too lazy. Place all of the roasted things (tomatoes, garlic, shallot, thai chili pepper) in the food processor. Add the smaller handful of basil and chicken stock. Puree until you have your desired consistency.

Everyone ready for pureeing?

Everyone ready for pureeing?

This soup can be served cold or heated gently on the stove-top. I prefer warm as the slightly spicy soup is “cooled” by the  delicious toppings. So top the soup with avocado, drizzled olive oil and greek yogurt, and say tomato-yummo!

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