“Hearty greens such as kale, mustard, and chicory are necessary to support the weight and bold flavors of the salad’s other ingredients: crescents of roasted squash, smoky bacon, sweet caramelized apples and onions, and the slightly sharp acidity of cider vinegar. Search for a mix of the young, smaller leaves of the robust greens rather than the more mature large leaves. If ever a salad smelled and tasted like autumn, this is it!” —Adapted from Erika Reagor’s recipe in the Portland Farmers Market Cookbook, p 137
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil and set them aside.
Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a large spoon. Slice each half into ¼ -inch half moons and add them to a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of the oil, the salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Toss the squash pieces until they’re evenly coated, spread them in a layer on one of the baking sheets, and bake them until they are tender and lightly caramelized, but not mushy, 12-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, lay the bacon slices 1 inch apart on the other baking sheet. Put the sheet in the oven with the squash and cook the bacon for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan front to back and cook the bacon until it is crispy, 3-5 more minutes. Remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and cool completely.
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. When the butter begins to foam and bubble, add the apples and a pinch of salt. Sauté until the apple slices are tender and lightly browned, 5-8 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the vinegar and remove the apples to a large serving bowl.
Return the sauté pan to the heat, reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. When it begins to bubble, add the onions and pinch of salt. Cook the onions until they’re very soft, lightly golden, and sweet-tasting, 20-30 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, toss to coat the onions, and add them to the bowl with the apples.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar with the mustard and honey. Slowly drizzle in the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, whisking to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, add the greens to the bowl with the apples and onions. Crumble in the bacon pieces and add the squash. Toss the salad with the dressing to coat the ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.