Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Everywhere A Squash Squash

These days, you can't turn a corner without running into a squash. Their maudlin little autumnal displays seem to be everywhere. Truth be told, they've just never turned me on. They seem to need a lot of foreplay before they give up some love with their impenetrable skins and hour plus roasting times.

I was presented with a reason to try, yet again, to embrace the squash because my friends from Harvest Moon Farms gave me a lovely care package with pasture raised meats, Italian greens, farm-fresh eggs and yes, a box of squash - Acorn and Delicata.

I had to come up with something new because the standard squash-apple soup recipe just leaves me cold. So I searched and tested a few new things to do with roasted squash.

First, Roast The Squash

You need a sharp knife and a good, sturdy cutting board to cut these suckers. Cut the squash in half, use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds and strings. Put in a roasting pan skin side down, throw some butter, chunky sea salt and fresh ground pepper in the little wells where the seeds used to be and cook at 375 for an hour or more until the flesh is soft and caramelized. Let cool and either scoop out large chunks with a spoon or peel away the skin and cut into square chunks. They don't need to look pretty to taste good.

So, these are my riffs on squash. Feel free to add, subtract and improvise to your taste.

Salad Ideas

Arugula, roasted squash, bacon, blue cheese, toasted walnuts, cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper

Arugula, prosciutto, roasted squash, pecorino shavings, good balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper

Rainbow or red chard (I love it as a salad green, cut out the stems and saute them with garlic until soft, let cool and add to the salad), roasted squash, fresh mozzarella, sherry vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper

Grain Salads

Farro, squash, red onion, walnuts, goat cheese, walnut oil, salt and pepper

Couscous, squash, red onion, harissa, cinammon, sultanas (golden raisins plumped in hot water), toasted slivered almonds, walnut oil, salt and pepper


Griddle this - thinly slice the squash and toss with a touch of sherry vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper; add to sturdy sandwich bread with a thick lick of goat cheese, arugula and bacon.

Squash, I hardly knew thee...


Leah A. Zeldes said...

Maudlin? Compared to what? Turnips and rutabagas? Personally, I find squash one of the more cheerful winter vegetables.

You don't have to roast squash! It microwaves beautifully.

Howard said...

I see somebody beat me to it... I occasionally like to microwave one of these ornamental squashes, when the balance of my day is going to be low enough in carbs to offset the moderate carb level in a half a squash.

I start by cutting it in half. I use a large butcher knife and rubber mallet (takes a bit of practice to get roughly equal halves) to cut it, scrape the seeds out, and microwave open side down in a large plate with a few ounces of water, covered with restaurant-grade plastic wrap. Time depends on size and power, but I generally do about 6 to 8 minutes on high, and test for done-ness with a fork before deciding to nuke it more. Then I turn it over, put a generous pat of real butter (veggie-oil-based margarine is not good for you), some powdered cinnamon, and a bit of sucralose, cover, and nuke for about another minute, then let set covered for 3-4 minutes. Hint: poke a small hole in the plastic for venting.

Makes a filling breakfast. Eat carefully with a spoon.

Dana Joy said...

wow, thank you so much for being here with your comments! I don't have a microwave - when I did it was pretty much used as a clock so I gave it away. I am sure many will find this useful though!