1 Kabocha squash
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup pecan halves
4 slices extra-thick bacon, cut cross-wise into ½-inch-thick “lardons”
¼ cup sherry vinegar
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
4-5 handfuls of sturdy, bitter greens
Manchego cheese (to be shaved on top of each serving)
Preheat oven to 400.
Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Slice the squash lengthwise into ¾-inch wedges, then peel. Kabocha squash, like other winter squash, has a fairly thick, and very tough skin, so be careful.
Toss peeled squash wedges with olive oil, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste (about 2 teaspoons of salt and a few hard turns on a pepper mill). Place the squash wedges on their sides in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until soft, about 30 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat until a drop of water dropped into the dry pan sizzles away. Add the pecans and “toast” them, shaking the pan continuously, for about 5 minutes. Remove pecans from pan and set aside to cool. Turn down heat under the saute pan to medium.
Add the bacon lardons and cook until just barely turning crisp, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, add sliced shallots and cook until shallots are soft. Remove the pan from the heat, add vinegar and swirl to combine and pick up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and set aside until squash is done.
Pour about ¾ of the bacon and vinaigrette from the pan over greens and pecan in a large bowl. Toss to combine, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange salad on plates, place squash wedges on top, then drizzle remaining vinaigrette over squash. Shave Manchego cheese over top.
bacon recipe courtesy of: Sarah J. Gim, TasteSpotting, March 15, 2011, inspired by a recipe from Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin