Janet Elsbach4 Comments

holiday roast

Janet Elsbach4 Comments
holiday roast

It’s been a lively month, watching the book wiggle out into the light! I’m so happy to be meeting and hearing from people who are reading and connecting to the words, and especially people who are making the food. 

There’s been some nice press for the book, here and there.

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Press is nice. Nicer still to hear people talk (or weep! There has been weeping!) about their times in the food delivery trenches, both giving and receiving.

I’m drawing some names today and tomorrow for book goodies, but in case you are not one of the names drawn, I also have a little salad to make sure no one walks away empty-handed. It has nothing to do with the book, except in the sense that it is definitely something you could make and take to someone else with a reasonable expectation that they will be pleased to receive it.

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My mother doesn’t acknowledge salad in the winter, and while I can’t say I feel the same, I do feel like a bowl of raw greens doesn’t have the same allure in winter that it does in high summer.

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I won’t even make eye contact with a “fresh” tomato in the market in winter, woolly and disappointing holograms that they are, but a box of cherry tomatoes is another matter, especially when a little roasting intensifies their attributes.  Coupled with the little bunches of herbs most stores stock, something with enough bright flavor to tickle the salad nerve can be assembled without as much fuss as it will taste like you made.

Given than all but the herbs get cooked, I guess it isn’t really a salad, in sum. It is, however, tasty enough that I’ve made it nearly every day this week. (If a wintry salad that involves greens is more your speed, try this little number, especially since it is a salad that also contains fried cheese. IT’S WINTER, PEOPLE).

 Wishing everyone light and warmth and affection. I hope that what comforts you is within reach.

what may qualify as a salad

  • 2# (ish) delicata squash

  • 10oz cherry or grape tomatoes (mixed colors is nice)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup

  • about a teaspoon kosher salt

  • a few grinds fresh black pepper

  • 1/2 cup marcona almonds, or roasted salted almonds anyway

  • a handful of fresh basil

  • a handful of fresh mint

  • juice of half a lime


Heat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise. Halve the squash lengthwise and scrape out the innards. Cut crossways into 1/2” slices.

In a medium bowl, toss the tomato halves with the oil, syrup, salt and pepper. Arrange the tomatoes cut side up on one side of the baking sheet, reserving the excess dressing in the bowl. Throw the squash slices into the bowl and mix them around with the sauce, lightly coating them. Arrange these in a single layer on the other side of the sheet. Roast, flipping the squash slices after about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are concentrated and a little raisin-y and the squash is tender and lightly browned in spots. Set aside to cool a bit.

Mince the fresh herbs and coarsely chop the almonds. Arrange the squash slices on a plate, and scatter the tomatoes on top. Sprinkle the nuts and herbs on top, and squeeze the lime juice over it all.