Servings: 8 as an appetizer or 4 as a main dish
Note: Adapted from a recipe by Eric Greenspan, chef-owner of the Foundry on Melrose. Idiazabal cheese is a Spanish sheep's milk cheese, available at the Cheese Store of Silverlake, Monsieur Marcel Gourmet Market and the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills. You can substitute provolone or mozzarella cheese. Store-bought sun-dried tomatoes can be substituted for the oven-dried tomatoes. Piquillo peppers are available at Spain Restaurant in L.A., Surfas in Culver City, La Espanola in Harbor City and some gourmet shops. You can also use roasted red peppers.
2 pounds (about 8) Roma tomatoes
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup diced butternut squash ( 1/4 -inch dice)
1/4 cup diced roasted red beets ( 1/4 -inch dice)
1/2 cup unsalted, shelled pistachio nuts
1/2 cup diced fennel ( 1/4 -inch dice)
1/2 cup diced celery ( 1/4 -inch dice)
1/3 cup diced cucumber ( 1/4 -inch dice)
1/2 cup dried currants
3 tablespoons diced piquillo peppers ( 1/4 -inch dice)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup grated Idiazabal cheese
8 cups chopped mixed greens, chopped into bite-size pieces (such as arugula, spinach, frisée and romaine)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons golden raisins
1. Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Peel, seed and cut the tomatoes into quarters. Toss them with 3 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt, about 1 teaspoon. Arrange the tomatoes on a rack on a baking sheet and bake until dried, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and allow to cool on the rack. Dice the cooled tomatoes into one-fourth-inch pieces. You should have about 6 tablespoons.
2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Roast the squash and beets in a small baking pan just until tender, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, but leave the oven on at 350 degrees to toast the pistachios.
3. Toast the pistachios on a baking sheet 5 to 7 minutes until lightly toasted, then remove from the oven and allow to cool.
4. In a large bowl, toss together the roasted tomatoes, butternut squash, beets, pistachios, fennel, celery, cucumber, currants, piquillo peppers, grated cheeses and mixed greens.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar and the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil until blended. Stir in the raisins. Drizzle enough dressing over the salad to coat, and sprinkle over a dash of salt. Toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Each of 8 servings: 330 calories; 6 grams protein; 21 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams fiber; 26 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 5 mg. cholesterol; 117 mg. sodium.