This is a dish of contrast. The bright green of the brussels is beautiful next to the orange squash and the butter-colored mushrooms. The acidity of the vinaigrette balances the sweetness of the butternut squash and the nuttiness of the brussel sprouts. The crispness of the bacon is balanced by the tenderness of the squash and the crunchiness of the occasional hazelnut.
All of this contrast works, however, because this dish encompasses many of the wonderful flavors of Thanksgiving. It makes a wonderful, quick-cooking, bright-flavored side dish that adds color and nutrition to your table. You just might find yourself making it again before the next Turkey Day rolls around.
This recipe is much easier and less stressful if all ingredients are prepared before you begin the cooking process.
Prepare a large ice bath by filling a large mixing bowl with water and ice.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt liberally and add the butternut squash. Blanch for about three minutes and then add the brussel sprouts. Blanch for another four minutes and remove from heat. Immediately strain and place vegetables in the ice bath.
In a large, deep skillet, cook the bacon pieces over medium high heat. Once the fat is rendered and the bacon is crispy and brown on both sides, remove the bacon and set aside for later on a paper towel. Then, reserve most of the bacon fat in a bowl to use for the vinaigrette.
Add the olive oil to the hot skillet, and add the brussel sprouts and squash. Saute for about five minutes, letting the vegetables caramelize. Add the garlic and the fresh rosemary and thyme. Add the Chanterelle mushrooms. Continue to saute for another three minutes, or until the squash is tender, and then remove from the heat.
In a small nonstick skillet, toast the chopped hazelnuts over medium heat. Stir frequently until the nuts begin to become a light golden-brown. Do not walk away! They will burn!
To the bowl with the reserved bacon fat, add the dijon mustard and the juice of the lemon and whisk until the mixture emulsifies. Poor the vinaigrette over the vegetables, toss or stir well to coat, and serve immediately, topped with the crispy bacon and toasted hazelnuts.
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