Napa Valley Grille executive chef Joseph Gillard works closely with local farmers to bring in the freshest produce, regularly changing the rustic eatery’s menu to capture the flavors of the season. His passion for farm-fresh food runs deep, having been raised on a Michigan farm where his mother’s large vegetable garden provided sustenance and income for the family. Gillard honed his skills in top kitchens from Michigan to Washington, DC, serving as executive chef at Mirabelle on Sunset Boulevard, as well as working with several local Patina Group kitchens, including Pinot Bistro and Pinot at the Chronicle. The busy chef also makes time to contribute to Meals on Wheels and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS foundation.
In California, the subtle change of season may best be experienced through the change in foods at local farmers’ markets. Autumn ushers in deep colors and savory aromas with root vegetables like beets and turnips, Brussels sprouts, squash, pomegranates and rutabagas. Chef Gillard shares this savory salad to spark your awareness of the multitude of fall flavors.
Toss all prepared vegetables in extra virgin olive oil and season with fresh thyme, sea salt and fresh pepper. Place vegetables on a baking sheet and roast in a 375° oven until slightly browned and tender.
Place delicata squash on a plate and serve the roasted vegetables inside. Drizzle with additional olive oil, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and serve.
* The abundance of squash provides beta-carotene, known for its antioxidant power and help in preventing cancer as well as loads of vitamin C. Brussels sprouts and pomegranates offer even more vitamins and the pumpkin seeds add a hint of protein to round out the salad into a light dinner or delicious side dish.