yields four servings
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
One 2 pound kabocha squash
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
8 slices thick-cut sliced applewood smoked bacon
1/4 cup sliced shallots
4 ounces young dandelion greens, cleaned
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
One 4 ounce piece ricotta salata cheese, cut into 1/8 inch thick slices
Preheat the oven to 375 ° F.
Spread the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and toast until lightly golden, stirring once or twice, about 10 minutes.
While the pumpkin seeds are roasting, carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place the squash, cut side down, on a cutting board, and using a sharp knife, carefully remove the peel. Slice the squash lengthwise into 3/4-inch-thick wedges.
When the pumpkin seeds are done, increase the oven temperature to 425 ° F.
Toss the squash wedges with 1/4 cup of the olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, some black pepper, and the thyme. Place the squash flat side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Roast in the oven for about 30minutes, or until tender when pierced with a knife.
Meanwhile, cut the bacon crosswise in half or into 4-inch pieces. Heat a large frying pan, large enough to hold the bacon (and later, the squash slices) in a single layer, over high heat for 1 minute. Add the bacon and cook, adjusting the heat, so it cooks evenly. Render the fat until the bacon begins to brown, but is still tender and chewy. Remove the bacon from the pan and place on absorbent towels. Pour off and discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan. Add the squash in a single layer. Add the shallots and gently toss with the squash coating everything in the fat.
Place the dandelion greens in a large bowl. Add the squash to the bowl, and toss carefully with the greens. Add the vinegar to the pan, swirl for a couple of seconds. Remove from the heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Pour over the salad. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Carefully toss everything together.
Transfer to a serving platter or individual serving plates, layering the ingredients. Arrange the cheese and the bacon in and around the salad. Scatter the pumpkin seeds on top. Serve immediately.
bacon recipe courtesy of: Suzanne Goin, Asian Food Channel.com