Chef Michael Campbell of Pacific Pearl Catering and Cafe is a leader in regenerative fine cuisine, with a background in classic Spanish flavors and a passion for bringing out the best in his cooking through high-quality, locally sourced produce.
Chef Michael recently stopped by The Ecology Center to pick up a Harvest Box and show us how to use it to create a stunning meal of polenta and butternut squash with a citrus salad. “It’s a nice warm, filling dish in the dead of SoCal winter,” says Chef Michael.
|Butternut Squash Polenta with Walnut Tarator Ingredients|
|1||large butternut squash (cooked ahead with olive oil, salt & pepper)|
|1 cup||course ground polenta (from The Ecology Center!)|
|2 tbsps||aleppo pepper|
|8||cloves of garlic|
|4 tbsps||olive oil|
|8 tbsps||butter (optional)|
|4 ounces||grated parmesan (optional)|
|1/2 cup||olive oil|
|6||cloves of garlic|
|Farm Greens with Cara Cara Orange, Shaved Fennel, Radish & Kohlrabi Ingredients|
|–||use any seasonal greens and salad mix|
|2||Cara Cara oranges (segmented, juice reserved)|
|2||bulbs baby fennel (shaved & blanched for 15 seconds)|
|2 tsps||aleppo pepper|
|1 cup||olive oil|
|4 tbsps||white balsamic vinegar|
Cut the butternut squash in half, remove seeds, rub with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 60-90 minutes until soft. Let cool and scrape flesh from skin.
For the polenta, bring water to boil, add polenta slowly while whisking. Add garlic, salt, aleppo, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 40 minutes. Add reserved squash and stir for 10 minutes finishing with olive oil, butter and parmesan.
For the walnut tarator, heat olive oil in a cast iron pan, and add walnuts and garlic. Toast until golden. Add roughly chopped kale until wilted, season with salt and pepper, reserve and cool. Next, add picked parsley. When cool, chop medium fine with a knife or pulse in a food processor.
Serve the tarator atop the polenta, and garnish with freshly grated parmesan.
For the vinaigrette combine the reserved orange juice, salt, aleppo, honey and white balsamic in a mixing bowl. Slowly stream in olive oil while whisking. Add orange segments, shaved red onion, fennel and kohlrabi. Let macerate for 30 minutes to several hours.
Spoon vinaigrette in generous amount over greens of your choice and finish with shaved radish!