Recipe: Rustic Fall Salad

This rustic fall salad represents the special time of year at the end of summer and early fall when both tomatoes and squash are in season at the same time. The unifying ingredient in this salad is the chèvre, the ingredient that ties everything else together and marries the vegetables into a fall harmony. Be sure to use only high-quality soft chèvre. Our favorite is from our neighbors Evergreen Lane Creamery, out of Fennville, Michigan.

Delicata squash
Tuscan kale
Grape tomatoes
Shiitake mushroom
Apple cider-mustard vinaigrette

Split the squash, scoop out the seeds, season with salt, pepper, olive oil and a touch of brown sugar. Roast until tender, around 45 minutes in a hot oven.
Stem shiitakes, season with salt, pepper and olive oil, roast in a hot oven for about 20 minutes, or until the shiitakes turn golden brown, while hot, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar on mushrooms and allow to cool slightly. 
Halve the tomatoes and marinate with olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh oregano. 
Rinse and tear kale into bite size pieces.
For dressing, we use Traverse City, Michigan's Brownwood Farms Kream Mustard for our mustard. Any honey mustard of your choice will work. Blend 2 tablespoons with 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar. When emulsified, blend in 3/4 cups olive oil and season with a pinch of salt.

To serve:
Place delicata squash boats on the bottom of the plate. Dress kale, mushrooms, and tomatoes with dressing and lay in and around squash. Top with heavy dollops of chèvre.

Cider pairing: We like to pair this salad a funkier cider like Percheron that matches the earthiness of the mushrooms and is still light and crisp enough to let the delicata squash and tomato flavors shine through.