November 3, 2015
I’ve been having a love affair with delicata squash for quite some time and since there’s no sign of a slowdown, it was time to share the love with my blog world. Delicata squash is sweet and smooth like butternut squash, but its rind is edible — you just clean, slice and cook. No scary hacking and peeling that result in trips to the ER and it’s creamy and tasty. What’s not to love?
In the summer I planted three delicata plants thinking I’d have a crop to enjoy come fall. All I got was one measly little squash. Luckily, almost every store in town carries them, even Trader Joe’s (with a handy little sticker featuring cooking instructions). Look for a small squash with cream-colored skin and yellow or green stripes. The best I’ve found were from our farmers market and Whole Foods. Yes, I’ve bought delicata squash all over town.
Here’s a simple recipe that you can quickly pull together any night of the week. The whole sage leaves screams fall — it’s time to say good-bye to the basil. Something magical happens when sage gets toasted in olive oil, it transforms into crispy, delicious, nuttiness.
*Roasting the seeds:
You may as well use the whole darn squash, so don’t throw away those seeds! They’re a small, tasty, perfectly crunchy snack (or go for it and make the gremolata). Soak the seeds in a bowl of water to remove the membrane and then place them in a dry pan over medium heat until they toast up. The smell of them roasting on the stove is insane.
Roasted Delicata Squash with Sage
Serves 4-6 as a side
3 delicata squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
10 whole sage leaves
Place a large baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 425.
Wash and slice the squash in half lengthwise and then scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Don’t discard the seeds, they blow the doors off roasted pumpkin seeds* (see my note at the very end of the post).
Cut the halves into ¼”– ½” slices, making them half-moon shaped. Throw the end pieces in your compost or feed to the chickens. Using your hands, toss the squash slices in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. When the oven heats to 425 place the squash on your pre-heated baking sheet. They’ll sizzle when they hit the pan. Cook for 10 minutes and then flip the squash to the other side. Bake until each side is golden brown (about 8 minutes more) and serve.
Upgrade: Pomegranate Gremolata
Seeds from the delicata squash
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, torn
2 tablespoons olive oil
Cracked black pepper
Clean the pulp off the remaining seeds and toss them into a dry skillet. They don’t have to be perfectly cleaned, just separated from the major membrane of the squash. Toast them on medium heat until they begin to crackle, pop and turn golden brown. Keep a close watch on them and be sure to move them around the skillet for even cooking. Once seeds are golden brown add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan (things will sizzle here!) and season them well with kosher salt. Set them aside for now.
In a bowl, measure out 3 tablespoons of the pomegranate seeds and mash them with the back of a fork to release the juices. MAKE SURE YOU WEAR AN APRON FOR THIS PART or your clothes will be ruined with pomegranate juice. Whisk juice with 1 tablespoon olive oil and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Then, toss with the remaining pomegranate seeds, torn cilantro and 1/3 cup of the toasted seeds.
Spoon out on top of your roasted squash and serve.