Warm Hokkaido Squash and White Bean Salad Recipe

Salade Tiède de Potimarron et Haricots Blancs

[Warm Hokkaido Squash and White Bean Salad]

I write this from a café where I like to go and get some work done when I find it difficult to concentrate at home. Today, however, an unforeseen challenge has materialized on my path. Sitting a few tables from mine are two living clichés: a blond, middle-aged, French casting director and a young, craggy-bearded, khaki-vested film director from LA. They are in deep conversation about finding the perfect actress (dark-haired, curvaceous, Middle-Eastern-looking) for his next feature.

He’s cool as a cucumber, but she’s holding her end of the discussion in such a throaty, heavily accented voice that even Leonard Cohen in my earphones can’t white-noise it out. But, the eavesdropper in me must admit, the crux of the matter is that it’s all wildly entertaining — especially since I can hear the entire dialogue effortlessly, as I pull up the imdb pages of the actresses they’re considering.

But this is unrelated to the matter at hand. The matter at hand is this warm winter salad, which, come to think of it, is also curvaceous and Middle-Eastern-looking, but is booked all through 2010, sorry. It is loosely inspired by a recipe for pumpkin and chickpeas in a tahini dressing that appeared in Casa Moro, the middle panel of Sam Clark and Sam Clark’s cookbook triptych*.

The underlying concept of this dish stuck with me — winter squash and legumes! hello, luminous idea! — and I recreated it from memory** on Sunday night, using the potimarron I’d bought at the market the day before, white beans, almond butter (my jar of tahini has been residing in my neighbor’s fridge since New Year’s Eve, when he borrowed it to make hummus for the party), and a sprinkle of pinenuts for extra crunch.

The result is a down comforter of a salad, sweet without excess, and filling in a way that’s most welcome after a run in the park in late afternoon (i.e. when it is dark enough that toddlers have been dragged home, but not so dark that you trip on tree roots and abandoned toys).

I didn’t have any cilantro (I can’t find it at the market in the wintertime) and I’d already used up my weekly allotment of parsley, but if you have some sort of leafy herb on hand, the salad will enjoy the greenness of it.

~~~

* I kid you not: the husband and wife who own Moro really are called Sam(uel) Clark and Sam(antha) Clark, Clark being the latter’s maiden name. Ionesco would have loved it.

** To see a version that’s closer to the printed recipe, take a look at my friend Molly’s rendition.

Salade Tiède de Potimarron et Haricots Blancs

For the beans:
- 120 grams (2/3 cup) dried white beans, soaked overnight in cold water
- one bay leaf
- one bushy stem fresh rosemary (or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary)
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

For the squash:
- one medium (about 1 kg, or 2.2 pounds) potimarron, a.k.a. Hokkaido squash or kuri squash (substitute butternut, buttercup, delicata, or kabocha squash)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- a drizzle of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sherry or balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon ras-el-hanout (a complex Moroccan spice blend; substitute a good curry powder, or a mix of ground cumin, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, coriander, and pepper)
- fine sea salt

For the dressing and topping:
- 1 tablespoon almond butter (the light brown kind, made from non-blanched almonds)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon orange flower water
- 1 teaspoon sherry or balsamic vinegar
- fine sea salt, freshly ground pepper
- 2 to 3 tablespoons pinenuts, toasted
- the leaves from a small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

Serves 2 to 3; the recipe can be doubled.

Rinse and drain the white beans. Place them in a medium saucepan with 75 cl (3 cups) cold water and the bay leaf. Set over medium-high heat, cover, bring to a simmer, and cook for 1 hour, or until the beans are tender, but before they get mushy. 45 minutes into the cooking, add the rosemary and coarse salt. When the beans are cooked, drain, discard the bay leaf, and keep warm.

While the beans are cooking, roast the squash. Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F). Cut the squash into eight wedges, deseed, scrape, and peel each wedge if necessary (the skin of the Hokkaido squash is thin and edible, so you can and should keep it). Cut the flesh into 2-cm (3/4-inch) cubes. Place the squash and the garlic in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and 1 teaspoon vinegar, sprinkle with ras-el-hanout and salt, and toss to coat well. Bake for 30 minutes, or until tender and slightly browned, stirring halfway through.

In a medium salad bowl, combine the dressing ingredients, from almond butter to vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, and thin with a teaspoon or two of water if necessary. Add the cooked beans, stir delicately to coat; add the roasted squash, and stir even more delicately. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Divide between serving plates, sprinkle with pinenuts and cilantro, and serve, slightly warm.

  • Shannon

    I can’t wait to make this. It looks divine. Plus I have a bag of white beans in my cupboard that have been waiting for the perfect recipe.

  • http://teach77.wordpress.com Wendy

    Gorgeous salad. :) I’ve tried the Moro version and look forward to this too.
    On the same note as Sam and Sam Clarke – I know a couple called Matt and Kat whose best friends are Matt and Nat. As if that wasn’t weird enough, 3 of the 4 have birthdays on 14th February!

  • Potiron

    I was wondering how we said potimarron in English, I LOVE potimarron….. Will try this recipe soon!!! Thank you

    Potiron in Chartres

  • http://www.theperfectpantry.com Lydia

    I often decamp to a cafe or coffee shop to write, because I have no expectation of being interrupted by seeing anyone I know. And yet, the temptation to eavesdrop on a conversation such as the one you heard would definitely distract me from my writing, too!

  • http://caseyellis.blogspot.com casey

    I have to admit that I enjoyed the evesdropping report as much as the recipe. Please keep reporting from the cafe. Nosy minds want to know.

  • http://thezest.wordpress.com Trisha

    I adore being plunked in the middle of your Paris on a regular basis. I’m unfamiliar with potimarron. If unable to find it, what’s a suitable alternative (butternut, maybe?)? I so happen to have a half bunch of cilantro, and can’t wait to put it to work in this recipe.

  • Anna

    I love this book! Haven’t tried this recipe before, but after such a nice read above, I’m feeling inspired. thank you!

  • http://notesontea.blogspot.com/ Georgia

    Nigella Lawson has a similar salad with squash and green beans. I’ve prepared it a few times. In fact, I have the ingredients for another variation in my kitchen: edamame, cannellini beans, and delicata and butternut squashes. Thanks for another version!

  • http://divineambrosia.blogspot.com Annemarie

    I love Sam and Sam’s recipes. I’ve never (knowingly) tried a potimarron but I’ve seen a few recipes about lately and would love to get my hands on one.

  • drea

    Who’s the Asian actress?! You can’t leave us hanging…

  • http://www.thursdaynightsmackdown.com Us vs. Food

    This sounds delicious; the topping especially sounds super yummy. I’ve never heard of this squash, though, by either name. Is it called something else, or can I sub another kind of squash? Because I want to eat this, soon.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Trisha and Us vs. Food – Instead of potimarron, you can use butternut, buttercup, delicata, or kabocha squash (see this chart with pictures). You could even substitute sweet potatoes.

  • http://www.aforkfulofspaghetti.blogspot.com aforkfulofspaghetti

    Ah, that’s tonight’s dinner sorted out – so kind of you to come up with something that uses the ingredients I have to hand!

  • Chris

    Just what I need on this cold, blustery, snowy day in Ottawa — both the recipe and the picture of you lounging in a Paris cafe… sigh…

  • http://www.cookingbytheseatofmypants.com Jerry

    It’s kind of neat that the owner’s names are so similar. In my case, my wife and i share the same initials.

    Me: J(erry) D(ean) Russell
    Her: J(essica) D(awn) Russell

    Kinda neat, as we both occasionally write under JDR :D

  • http://thelovelyemily.blogspot.com Emily S.

    Hi there Clotilde! Just wanted to let you know the links for “Leonard Cohen” and “Casa Moro” are not working, for me anyway. Everything else is working.

  • http://www.banlieusardises.com Martine la banlieusarde

    Bonjour Clotilde! Ton beau sourire a éclairé une page de mon journal ce matin! En effet, on te voit apparaître sur la promo de l’émission de Josée Di Stasio qui sera diffusée ce soir à Télé-Québec. La photo est aussi reprise ici.

    Après t’avoir si souvent lue, ce sera un plaisir de t’écouter ce soir nous dévoiler les bonnes adresses du Paris gourmand :)

  • http://balancefood.blogspot.com Chou

    Yum. That salad looks like the perfect food to feed vegetarian friends on cold winter nights. Thanks! (Do you think the movie will be any good?)

  • http://www.thursdaynightsmackdown.com Us vs. Food

    Thanks, Clothilde! I can’t wait to try it with a delicata.

  • dory

    I was wondering what to do with the butternut squash I had leftover from making a gratin the other night. Now I know what to do with it.

    I have already made two recipes from the blog and cookbook, and even Mr. Picky, my husband liked them. Chocolate and Zucchini seems to be as reliable as the other cookbook I have where everything seems to work– i.e. no bad recipes– Didi Emmon’s Vegetarian Planet, which I recommend even to hard core carnivores.

    Our satellite TV used to have several Quebec stations. Now we only have TV5 available in French, and although I am hungry to hear French the programming is so bad that I often turn it off. Let us know if you are going to appear on TV5 ever!

    I like to write on my laptop in a beautiful cafe near my house with huge windows looking out over a lake in Wisconsin that is now frozen and snow covered after our worst winter in 20 years. I love to think of you sitting in a cafe in snow-free Paris, although normally I don’t mind snow, and I have been in Paris in winter enough to know that it is also cold and dark. Please keep cooking!

    Dory

  • Julie Desjardins

    Aaah, comment about À La Di Stasio: I’m reading La Presse right now (Montreal French newspaper), and I saw an ad for a contest with À La Di Stasio. In the ad, there’s a picture of Josée, with a girl who looks a lot like you. Came here to check, and now I see that you will be on the show that’s on right this moment.

    Too bad the boyfriend is already watching something, but I will definitely look for the rerun later this week-end! Josée Di Stasio’s show is wonderful, her recipes are amazing and easy to make. Can’t wait to see the show!

    Let me know if you’d like a copy… I’ll try to make one for you (gotta figure out how the DVD burner/recorder works).

  • http://www.missdiane.canalblog.com Miss Diane

    Je viens juste de visionner l’émission À la di Stasio et j’ai adoré revoir ces jolis coins de Paris en ta compagnie. La quiche était aussi bien appétissante.

  • http://cafechocolada.blogspot.com/ Medena

    Great ingredients promise to deliver wonderful taste! Great recipe, love your blog!

  • http://bretzeletcafecreme.blogspot.com/ Flo Bretzel

    This winter white beans salad looks delicious. You can be sure I will prepare it this week in Munich!

  • kate

    I made this last night with a mix of sweet and white potatoes, white beans and the dressing. I did add the cilantro and my partner said it reminded him of pad thai! There was feta in the salad we had with it and when got mixed in it was great. I think next time I will add feta.

  • http://www.danfalkenberg.com Dan

    Thanks for the recipe. I might have to use it sometime to impress my wife.

    I can’t help but listen to people’s conversation either, but the best has to be when you’re in a restaurant and the couple next to you is awkwardly silent because you can tell they’re in a fight.

  • Vicky

    I have been a fan of your blog for a while now, here in the SF Bay Area. Made the white bean and squash salad last night. It was delicious, but it took me FOREVER to peel the squash! (Perhaps the acorn was a bad choice. Oddly enough it was all I could find organic, besides spaghetti :6.) I also doubled the recipe because my husband would have laughed at a recipe that serves 2-3! I saw the recommendation for sweet potatoes. I will definitely try that next time!

  • Rachel

    THe only thing that kept me from rushing out and making this the second you posted it (though I was seriously tempted) is I had just made a big pot of squash curry – and as much as I like squash, you can have too much of a good thing! Anyway, I made the salad a couple of nights ago (with butternut squash, a good handful of coriander on top, and replacing the almond butter with tahini) and… let’s just say it’s a recipe that actually makes me happy it’s winter. I can’t think of any higher praise than that!

  • http://free-cuisine.over-blog.com lory

    pas mal cette salade, elle doit être un peu sucrée…

  • Happy Cook

    I just tried this recipe for a light Sunday lunch – with astounding success! Everyone loved it (even the “I only eat meat, not beans” among us)! I had to substitute some (acorn squash instead of Hokkaido, Herbes de Provence instead of fresh rosemary), but no matter, it turned out perfectly. A lovely warm meal on a cold afternoon. Thank you for posting Clotilde!

  • http://www.iensrecepten.nl Anouk

    I made this recipe last Sunday for an intimate dinner with old friends and got a standing ovation. Well, almost… But it was a great succes!

  • Christina Oldenburg

    It seems to me we were always able to buy quantities of coriandre (cilantro) winter or summer at marchés Belleville, Aligre and Menilmontant.
    They don’t have cilantro anymore?
    I’m going to try that squash salad as soon as we finish the Thanksgiving leftovers!
    Christina

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Christina – I buy my produce at the Batignolles market from an organic farmer located a little way outside of Paris, and he doesn’t grow cilantro during the cold months. I can buy it elsewhere if absolutely necessary, but I mostly just use parsley in the winter.

  • http://kitchen-notebook.blogspot.com/ Lucy

    Why didn’t I see this before?! Oh goodness this looks divine. Looking for good uses for some amazing potimarron I have lucked into.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I hope you like it, Lucy, it’s one of my favorite fall dishes.

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