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Warm Pumpkin Salad with PolentaA Halloween Treat:
Warm Pumpkin Salad with Polenta
and Candied Pumpkin Seeds



Yield: Makes 6 servings
Active time: 1 3/4 hr - (Read easy, time-saving suggestions in parenthesis)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal (not coarse)
7 1/2 cups water
2 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup raw green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (or pepitas)
1 tablespoon fresh pomegranate juice (or cranberry juice cocktail)
2 teaspoons Sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallot (or any strong onion)
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small cheese pumpkin or butternut squash (2 lb), peeled, quartered lengthwise, and seeded
1 (6-oz) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)
8 oz arugula, trimmed

Preparation:

Prepare polenta: (OR purchase Ready-Made Polenta- - otherwise the polenta can be spread on baking sheet and not yet fried and chilled up to 1 day in advance)
Bring cornmeal, water, and 2 1/4 teaspoons salt to a boil in a 4-quart heavy saucepan, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until polenta is creamy and tender, about 50 minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in 11/2 tablespoons butter and cool slightly.

Spoon polenta onto center of a lightly buttered large baking sheet, then spread evenly into a 10- by 7-inch rectangle (about 1/2 inch thick). Cover with plastic wrap, then poke several holes in wrap with a small sharp knife and chill 2 hours.

Candy pumpkin seeds: (No short-cuts - just make extra to use in other recipes or serve with cheese 'cuz they are yummy! Can be prepared up to 3 days ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature)
Melt remaining tablespoon butter in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Stir in sugar, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, cayenne, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, then cook, without stirring, until caramelized. Add pumpkin seeds and cook, stirring occasionally, until seeds are puffed and golden. Transfer to a plate to cool. When seeds have hardened, break up any clumps with your fingers.

Make vinaigrette:
Whisk together pomegranate juice, vinegar, and shallot and let stand 5 minutes. Whisk in 3 tablespoons oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste.

Roast pumpkin: (OR substitute butternut squash - perhaps bake it with a touch of oil or maple syrup)
Preheat oven to 450°F. Cut pumpkin quarters crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Toss with 1 tablespoon oil and salt and pepper to taste in a shallow baking pan and arrange slices in 1 layer. Roast in middle of oven until just tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, then cut into bite-sized pieces and cover with foil to keep warm.

Fry polenta while pumpkin roasts:
Trim polenta into a 9- by 6-inch rectangle. Cut polenta into 6 (3-inch) squares, then halve each square diagonally. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet until hot but not smoking, then cook polenta in 2 batches, turning once, until golden brown, about 8 minutes (if necessary, use remaining tablespoon oil for second batch). Transfer as cooked to a plate and keep warm, covered.

Assemble salad:
Shave 12-16 shaves from cheese with a vegetable peeler.
Whisk vinaigrette, then toss arugula in a large bowl with enough vinaigrette to lightly coat. Place several pieces of pumpkin and 1 piece of polenta on each of 6 plates. Top with arugula, more pumpkin, and remaining polenta. Sprinkle with candied pumpkin seeds and top with parmesan shavings, then drizzle with remaining vinaigrette.

*Serve with a meat dish like Pork Tenderloin

<<Return to Linda's Feed Bag for more great recipes


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ABOUT SMOKE SIGNALS
Founded: February 2009
Owned & Produced by: L A High Noon, Inc.

 


 


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Mission Statement

Smoke Signals blows your way from High Noon Western Americana of Los Angeles, California, producers of the High Noon Antique Show & Auction for 25 years (1991-2014). Smoke Signals eMagazine was founded in 2010 from a desire to share thoughts and facts with the High Noon community and look at what is going on in the Western world while feeding our readers with great recipes and giving advertisers a chance to blow their own smoke.

And hopefully we educate along the way.

Linda Kohn Sherwood, Editor


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