The September issue of Bon Appetit Magazine features a chopped salad from San Francisco restaurant, Che Fico. The image alone sold me, but so did the layers of flavors from all the ingredients - honey roasted squash, seared brussels sprouts, bitter radicchio, marinated chickpeas, salty olives, and cheese all tossed with a peppy Italian dressing. The multi-step process to recreate this salad was definitely something I was not sold on. I love the idea of this hearty salad as a main, but don’t love the multiple steps required to make it. I set out to build a better version that did not take two plus hours, still tasted amazing, and shaved some of butter and the cheese from the original recipe.
pros, cons, and changes
Pro: The original version had great depth of flavor, a balance of sweet, salty, and acidic, and was hearty enough as a main.
Con’s: Multiple steps which required lots of pots and pans. Squash was mushy since you scoop it out roasted. Salad was also salt heavy from the cheese, olives, and seasoning. There was too much oil in the dressing-in my humble acid loving opinion.
Changes: Andrew’s immediate critique was that he found the squash “goopy”. To fix that, I opted to cube the squash and roast, retaining the shape and giving the squash a firmer texture. The original recipe calls for the brussels sprouts to be pan seared in butter, definitely a step which gives them a good amount of flavor, but uses another pan. To reduce the butter, I opted to roast the brussels sprouts at the same time as the squash and finish with white balsamic vinegar, per the original recipe.
The original recipe called for an infused oil in the dressing - a step that dirtied yet another pot. I do understand the value of an infused oil but, as a practical home cook with a baby and limited time, I do not see the necessity of this step for the simplified version. I decided to omit it.
Lastly, I wanted to tone down the butter, oil, and cheese. The butter was removed because I opted to roast the brussels sprouts as oppose to searing them. I also favor a more acidic dressing, so that allowed me to scale back the oil in the vinaigrette. Finally, the salad was on the very salty side. I had already omitted the salami, so I reduced the salt in the seasoning and cut down the amounts of cheese. That’s it. I hope you enjoy my simplified and slightly healthified version of the Che Fico Chopped Salad.
Brussels Sprouts and Squash Chopped Salad
Modifed from Bon Appetit Magazine
1 small butternut squash (2 to 3 lbs)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 teaspoons honey
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
3 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 15.5 oz can chickpeas, rinsed
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped aged provolone cheese
1 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted
4 cups torn radicchio
4 cups torn romaine lettuce
1/4 cup finely grated ricotta salata
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two sheet trays with parchment paper
Peel squash and cut into 1-inch cubes.
Whisk together lemon juice, honey, 2 tablespoons olive oil, pinch salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss in squash to coat. Spread squash out on one of the sheet trays.
Toss brussels trimmed and halved sprouts with garlic powder, pinch salt and pepper, and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Spread out on the remaining sheet tray. Place both the squash and brussels sprouts in the oven. Roast 30 to 45 minutes until brussels sprouts are fork tender and slightly crispy, squash should be caramelized and soft. While warm, toss brussels sprouts with white balsamic vinegar. Let cool.
While the vegetables are cooking. Whisk together the red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, lemon juice, garlic, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, and olive oil. Taste with a lettuce leaf and adjust acid/oil if needed.
In a large bowl toss the chickpeas with 1/4 cup vinaigrette. Let sit for 10 minutes. Add scallions, provolone cheese, and olives to the chickpeas. Next add in squash and brussels sprouts and toss. Add the romaine and radicchio and more vinaigrette to taste. Serve with grated ricotta salata and enjoy.