Pickled pumpkin has such a nice ring to it, and that’s what this was supposed to be. The page for this salad had been marked since March when I first got the book My Favorite Ingredients. I had waited months to try it, and when I had an extra butternut squash and some tomatoes on hand from our CSA, I went for it. With a mix of both winter squash and tomatoes, it’s a perfect cross-over season dish. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve tried from this book. Interesting flavor combinations and simple, seasonal dishes keep me coming back to it. The chapters in the book are organized by ingredient, and this salad is from the vinegar chapter. The butternut squash was pickled in red wine vinegar, and the salad was finished with aged balsamic. The vinegars were balanced by the sweetness of the squash and slow-roasted tomatoes and the beautiful, creamy, fresh burrata.
To begin, you should pop the tomatoes in the oven since they slow-roast for three to four hours. Of course, this can be done in advance, and the tomatoes can be stored in the refrigerator. Halved tomatoes were sprinkled with salt and pepper and roasted at 250 degrees F until shriveled with concentrated flavor. For the pickles, sugar was combined with red wine vinegar, a bottle of dry, white wine, some bay leaves, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, a bunch of thyme, and a hot chile. The mixture was warmed until the sugar dissolved while the butternut squash was seeded and sliced. The peel was left on the squash to keep the thin pieces intact while cooking. The squash slices were placed in the pickling liquid where they simmered for about an hour and then were allowed to cool. I picked the squash pickles out of the liquid and strained the liquid back over the pickles before storing them in the refrigerator. Readying the tomatoes and pickles took some time, but it was mostly waiting time. Then, putting together the salad was a breeze. The dressing for the salad was a mix of fresh oregano leaves chopped with some salt and combined with lemon juice and olive oil. The pickled squash and roasted tomatoes were arranged on plates and topped with burrata, that was drizzled with the oregano dressing, and then aged balsamic was dribbled on the plate.
This was my kind of salad since I like just about any kind of pickle. The butternut squash slices had softened a little but retained some texture, and you could cook them more or less to achieve whatever level of crispness you prefer. As they were, they provided nice textural contrast with the roasted tomatoes and burrata. And, there were plenty of leftover pickles. They're great for snacking straight out of the refrigerator.