Fry bacon until very crispy and set aside to drain on paper towels. Reserve bacon grease in pan and set aside for now.
In a small saucepan, combine pomegranate juice, balsamic, chicken broth, sugar, and shallot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until it is reduced by half. In a seperate bowl, combine dijon, 1/4 tsp. salt, pinch of black pepper, and fresh sage. When pomegranate mixture is reduced by half, pour the warm mixture into the dijon and sage mixture. Slowly add 2 tbsp. oil while whisking constantly. Set vinaigrette aside.
Go ahead and plate your salad greens (divided evenly among 2 plates). Top each with half of the toasted walnuts.
Slice goat cheese into 4 equal discs (app. 1/2″ thick each). Roll each disc in panko and lightly press panko into cheese so that it is well-coated with bread crumbs. Heat the bacon grease until it is nice and hot and quickly fry goat cheese rounds, turning so that both sides get brown and crispy. This will not take long if your pan is hot enough. Try to turn them only once so that they are handled as little as possible (they may fall apart if handled too much). Set goat cheese rounds aside and allow to drain on paper towels for just a minute.
Top salad greens (already topped with the walnuts) with roasted butternut squash (after it’s slightly cooled), warm goat cheese rounds, 2 pieces of bacon (each), and vinaigrette.
Serves 2 for dinner, 4 as a salad course
From Carli Snyder
Melt the butter in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the nutmeg. Cool slightly. Transfer half of the sauce to a blender*. Add the basil and blend until smooth. Return the basil sauce to the sauce in the pan and stir to blend. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.
Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/3 of the squash puree over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Drizzle 1/2 cup of sauce over the noodles. Repeat layering 3 more times.
Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the lasagna. Continue baking uncovered until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, 15 minutes longer. Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.
* When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.
From Lori Emerson
From Carli Snyder
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