Longtime companions cranberry and pumpkin are ripe for a culinary renaissance. Here, they become a spectacular salad course or light lunch: the berries simmered with white wine and gelled, the pumpkin cut into wedges and fried crisp and brown. They're accompanied by a salad of frisée tossed with warm bacon vinaigrette.

This recipe is one of O's delicious cranberry recipes.
Servings: Serves 4
Cranberry gels:
  • 1 cup cranberries , fresh or defrosted
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 tsp. salt
  • 4 sheets unflavored gelatin (or 1 pouch or 2 tsp.)
Pumpkin fries:
  • 1/2 medium pumpkin , sugar or baking variety
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • Canola oil , to fill pot 3 inches
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Bacon vinaigrette:
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1/3 cup apple cider or champagne vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup olive oil
For serving:
  • 1 head frisee , washed and dried
Active Time: 1 1/2 hours
Total time: 4 hours

To make gels: Combine cranberries, 1/2 cup water, wine, sugar, and salt in a saucepan and simmer until cranberries are thoroughly cooked, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare gelatin according to directions on the box.

Place cranberry mixture in a blender and process until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and return to pan.

While mixture is still hot, add gelatin and cook over low heat until gelatin dissolves.

Pour mixture into 4 small ramekins coated with nonstick baking spray. Place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours to allow gelatin to set completely.

To make fries: Peel pumpkin and remove seeds and stringy flesh. Cut remainder into thick sticks.

Toss pumpkin in corn starch; discard remaining starch that doesn't stick.

Fill a large, heavy-bottomed pot with 3 inches of oil; heat over medium-high heat. To test the oil for readiness, put one fry in the oil. When it browns quickly, and the oil bubbles vigorously, about when the oil reaches 350°, it is ready. Fry pumpkin until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove from oil with a slotted spoon; place on paper towels to absorb remaining grease. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

To make vinaigrette: Cook bacon over low heat in a sauté pan until crispy; remove and allow to cool. Place bacon and any grease in a food processor and puree until pieces are finely chopped. Add vinegar, mustard, sugar, and salt, and pulse to combine. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until emulsified and cohesive.

To unmold gels, run a thin knife along the outside edge of each. Set ramekins in a small bowl of hot water to loosen, then turn gels over onto a plate (they can then be moved to serving plates).

To serve, divide frisée among four plates. Drizzle with bacon vinaigrette, and top with fries and gel. There will be some vinaigrette left over.

Note: Start the gels in the morning or the night before. Instead of frying the pumpkin, you could roast it in a 400° oven for about 30 minutes.


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