Saturday, November 17, 2012

Roasted Delicata Squash


This is dead easy and all you have to remember if you want crispy edges is, "the magic number is three". The Delicata squash half-moons are cooked on one side, turned to cook on the other side and then turned to cook on the original side once more for crispy edges and creamy flesh.


There may be other ways to achieve this, but this is my method learned by trial, error and, finally, success. Sometimes, as I did this time, I add about 1 1/2 teaspoons of brown sugar per squash when I'm tossing them with a very small amount of olive oil, salt and pepper but you can omit that if you wish. Occasionally I sprinkle some balsamic vinegar on the slices instead of brown sugar before they go into the oven. I liberally sprinkled the half-moons with Ras el Hanout, but mostly what I was left with was a mild aromatic flavor and some of the heat from that spice mixture. 


Delicata squash is a more-or-less dirigible-shaped white or yellow squash with green or orange-gold longitudinal striations and a pale yellow-orange flesh. It's classified as a winter squash, but is very thin-skinned. When roasted, the skin is very easy to eat. You can roast it, stuff it and bake it, saute or steam it.. It's not as packed full of beta carotene as some of the other winter squashes, but has good fiber, potassium, and vitamins C and B.



RECIPE: ROASTED DELICATA SQUASH

Serves 4 as a second side dish

Ingredients:

  • 2 Delicata squash, 7-8 inches in length and 3-4 inches in diameter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil  + a little to brush on the parchment
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
  • kosher salt to taste - a couple of generous two-finger pinches should do it
  • 5-6 grinds of freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F, rack in the upper third of the oven.
  2. Cover a large jelly roll pan with parchment, a silicone mat or foil and brush very lightly with olive oil.
  3. Cut the ends off of the squash, just until the seeds show. Cut each squash in half lengthwise.
  4. Scrape out the seeds and the strings. A few strings here and there don't matter.
  5. Cut each squash half in 1/2 in pieces along the length and place slices into a large bowl.
  6. When you've cut up both of the squashes, toss them with as little of the olive oil as it takes to coat the slices. Sprinkle half of the optional brown sugar, the pepper and the salt over the slices and toss. Repeat with the second half and toss. Lay the slices on the parchment-covered jelly roll pan leaving space between them. Drizzle the liquid from the bowl as evenly as you can, over the slices.
  7. Place the jelly roll pan in the pre-heated oven. Set the timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes,  remove the pan from the oven and turn the slices. 
  8. Turn the pan 180 degrees and place back in the oven and set the timer for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and turn the slices. Set the timer for 12 minutes.
  9. Turn the pan 180 degrees and place back in the oven and set the timer for 12 minutes - check at about 8 minutes. Let the slices sit on the pan for a couple of minutes then serve.

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