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Baby Spinach Salad of Salmon, Delicata & Brussels Sprouts with Maple-Sage Vinaigrette

Easy to prep and a cinch to assemble, but it's the vinaigrette that is the real win.

Salad of Salmon, Delicata & Brussels Sprouts with Maple-Sage Vinaigrette

I first had a gorgeous green maple-sage vinaigrette on a spa vacation. I was blown away by the flavors and the versatility of that salad dressing. I put it on everything during my stay and knew I had to concoct a similar elixir once I returned home, and so I did. This salad features a delectable balance of sweet and bitter flavors with tender and crunchy textures. The delicata squash and salmon can be roasted hours or even a couple of days in advance, and the salad dressing can be prepped in advance, too. The moment you want to assemble the salad you'll need only about five minutes to throw it all together.

Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; small mixing bowl; whisk; rimmed sheet pans; aluminum foil or parchment paper; measuring spoons; dry and wet measuring cups; pastry brush; offset spatula; tongs; fork; blender; large mixing bowl

Salad Ingredients: 1½ pounds sockeye salmon

¼ cup olive oil, divided ¼ cup maple syrup, divided 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 large delicata squash, sliced crosswise into ¼-inch rounds, seeds removed

1 pound baby spinach (10-12 cups)

½ pound Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced 2 tablespoons sunflowers seeds

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Maple-Sage Vinaigrette Ingredients: 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

¼ cup maple syrup

12 fresh sage leaves

1 cup avocado oil

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Drizzle each lined pan with two tablespoons olive oil. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of maple syrup with 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard. Set aside. Place the salmon on one sheet pan, either as one piece, or in smaller pieces. Brush generously with the maple-mustard. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked to your liking. Set aside.

3. While the salmon is roasting, prepare the delicata squash. Place the squash rings on the other sheet pan and drizzle with the remaining maple syrup. Toss the squash in the olive oil and maple syrup to distribute and coat evenly, then arrange them in a single layer. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt. Once the salmon is finished cooking, roast the delicata in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until tender and golden brown.

ILOC tip: the skin of the delicata is not only beautiful but delicious and should be enjoyed. Trim the delicata squash of its two ends and slice crosswise into rings. To remove the seeds from each ring, use either a spoon or a paring knife to scrape them away in a circular motion.

4. While the delicata roasts, prepare the vinaigrette. In a blender, combine the vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and sage leaves. With the blender running, slowly add the oil while an emulsion forms, then add some kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste.

ILOC tip: when making a vinaigrette, add more of any ingredient to create the flavor balance that suits your tastebuds. Taste as you go and make it right for you.

5. In a large bowl, combine the baby spinach, sliced Brussels sprouts, and sunflower seeds. Drizzle with up to half the vinaigrette and toss well to coat.

6. Divide the salad among four plates, then divide the squash among four plates. Break up the roasted salmon with a fork and divide among the plates. Sprinkle with additional kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. If desired, drizzle with additional vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

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