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Radicchio Caesar & Squash Croutons

I recently made this salad for friends and we devoured most of the delicata squash croutons before they made it onto the salad. Tossed in herbs, breadcrumbs and parmesan, the most beautiful aroma fills the house as they bake making them impossible to resist. Feel free to use any squash you have on hand (honeynut would be delicious), just make sure you dice them to crouton size bits. Paired with beautiful greens and an easy caesar vinaigrette, this salad is a lovely autumnal spin on a classic caesar and a delicious addition to your Thanksgiving table.


Radicchio Caesar with Delicata Squash Croutons

serves 6-8

For the salad

2 heads radicchio lettuce

3-4 heads little gem lettuce

1 cup pitted castelevatrano olives, halved

1/2 cup shaved parmesan

Delicata squash croutons (see below)

1 cup casear dressing

For the delicata squash croutons

1 delicata squash, deseeded and diced

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

1/4 cup parmesan

2 tablespoons herbs de provence

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 garlic clove, grated

Sea salt & black pepper, to taste

For the caesar dressing

2 anchovies

2 garlic cloves

Juice from 1 lemon

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup parmesan

Sea salt & black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 345F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine breadcrumbs, parmesan and herbs de provence. Add in 2 tablespoons olive oil, maple syrup, grated garlic, salt, pepper and toss until it looks like a sandy mixture. Toss diced delicata squash in the mixture until each cube is well coated, you may need to pack it on a little.

Transfer croutons parchment-lined baking sheet in an even layer and drizzle remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until squash is golden and cooked through. If your squash is cooked through but the breadcrumbs aren't golden brown, cook under the broiler carefully until golden (this should only take a minute or so).

Remove delicata squash croutons from the oven and let cool. These can be made up to one day in advance, but best served day-of as your house fills with the most beautiful aroma as they cook.

While the croutons cool, prepare the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. I have always made my caesar dressing with egg, but recently went to make some and realized I was out of eggs. I ended up substituting with a bit of mayo and loved the consistency with this salad. Feel free to use your favorite caesar dressing here instead.

When ready to serve, cut radicchio and little gem lettuce into an assortment of shapes - quarter heads, torn pieces of lettuce or in halves (if they are small). Arrange on a serving platter and top with castelevatrano olives, delicata squash croutons and shaved parmesan. Drizzle dressing over the top or serve on the side and allow guests to drizzle on their preferred amount.


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