Julia's Hot Honey Squash, Feta or Goat Cheese, & Kale Salad with Brown-Buttered Pine Nuts


1 kabocha squash (or 1-2 delicata)

1 bunch of kale (Lacinato), torn into small pieces or finely sliced

6 oz block of feta or goat cheese

1/2 cup of pine nuts

1 cup of honey

1-2 Tbsp Calabrian chile paste (or chili flakes) - I like Tutto Calabria brand

1/2 cup butter

1 sprig of rosemary

3 sprigs thyme

1 clove of garlic

1/4 cup champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

For the Hot Honey:

Combine 1 cup of honey and 1-2 tablespoons of calabrian chili paste (depending on your heat tolerance) in a small saucepan. Heat gently over medium heat, stirring frequently until it comes to a low simmer. Set aside to cool slightly. This will keep for up to 2 weeks stored in a glass jar.

Roast the Squash:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the squash into 1.5-inch half moon wedges (removing seeds, but leaving the skin on). Finely chop fresh thyme & rosemary and grate the clove of garlic, then combine with 1/3 cup olive oil, salt & pepper. Toss the squash in the herb mixture then arrange on a sheet pan and roast until browned and tender, about 45 minutes. Pull the squash out, drizzle with a few tablespoons of the hot honey (to taste) and toss. Return to the oven for about 10 minutes, watching closely to ensure the honey caramelizes but does not burn. Remove and allow to cool.

Assemble the Salad:

To make the brown-buttered pine nuts: melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add pine nuts and cook, stirring frequently until the pine nuts are golden brown and butter has browned, about 5-8 minutes.

For the dressing, whisk together in the bottom of a large bowl: 1 tbs dijon mustard, 1/4 cup champagne vinaigrette, 1/3 cup olive oil, salt & pepper to taste. To assemble the salad, lay kale first in a flat-bottomed serving dish. Arrange the squash, big slices of feta, and pour the pine nuts & butter over top. Finish with a final drizzle of hot honey and flaky sea salt.

Note: Don't want the heat? Skip the chili and roast the squash in honey on it's own

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