Sunchoke, Leek and Parmesan Gratin
This is a salad that probably sounds pretty fancy. But the reality is that it’s incredibly basic and highlights tons of seasonal, interesting, and local veggies. So it’s simple but far from boring. Just because it has the word “salad” in it doesn’t mean it has to raw, cold or rabbit food.......
Eating seasonally and locally is cool. It’s trendy. Even “hipster.” But there are a lot of trendy things that are pretty stupid…I mean, top knots? However, when it comes to seasonal cooking this isn’t a new idea. Your great-grandmother couldn’t have imagined a tomato salad in February and she probably wouldn’t recognize those pale and flavorless alien spheres as tomatoes today. So flavor is clearly a benefit of eating in season. The sexy heirloom babies you get at the farmers’ market (you know, the ones that glisten when you slice ‘em open and leave a pool of sweet juice on your cutting board) are far different from what you’re going to get at the grocery store in the dead of winter.
So there’s taste and then there is also that thing called your health. Food eaten in season has been ripened on the plant and when it’s local it’s lost far less of its nutritional value in the short transportation route. A gala apple coming from Chile? Well it was picked green, sat on a truck for a number of hours, and by the time it made it to you it not only did NOT gain the nutrients it could have from ripening on the tree, but it lost a ton in transport too. And chances are it was sprayed with some weird crap, completely defeating the purpose of eating fruit and veggies in the first place. So there’s that. AND eating seasonally is SO MUCH CHEAPER. Delicata squashes are wicked cheap right now and you can actually find dandelion greens (yes, those things that we’ve deemed weeds) growing in your backyard, as long as they haven’t been treated with chemicals.
Basically, this dish is going to blow your mind and make you rethink your lame definition of salad. It’s full of contrasting flavors, textures, and temperatures. It’s colorful. It’s what I would deem a very sexy salad. Yes, food can indeed be sexy. And hell, you know you’re going to impress someone with all those elegant words like “caramelized” and “delicata.” But you won’t spend too much money to get a badass compliment.
Delicata squash can be green or yellow