It’s really, really winter’s end.
When Delicata squash started appearing in our organic box it’s a signal that fall had arrived in full force and now, winter coming to a close.
Squash wasn’t a staple in my meal planning until we began to live dangerously with an organic produce delivery. I say “live dangerously” because there’s no telling what’s in any given box. I might not know how to prepare it or even recognize it.
But last year I began making Delicata and M. loves it. He thinks it tastes like chestnuts and I say it tastes like fall. And it’s easy to prepare.
Like most squash, the skin is tough and requires a sharp knife to cut through. That’s why I let him cut it–these days, I’m dangerous with sharp instruments. But here’s the good news: the skin’s nowhere near as tough as butternut squash. So consider it for your dinner table and perhaps even for your Thanksgiving table this year.
The very first thing we did was thoroughly scrub the skin with organic produce wash and a brush. These were pretty nice specimens, but if yours has rough spots, simply cut them off.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Get the salt and olive oil.
Prep a baking sheet by lining it with foil and spraying with olive oil. Some people don’t like the foil lining, but I like making clean-up easy and foil does the trick.
Get out that sharp knife and a cutting board. You’re ready to rock and roll. But–don’t pour yourself any wine yet, you’ve got that sharp knife to handle. Just a few more minutes…
1. Cut the squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds so the inside is nice and clean. No seeds, no pulp.
2. Turn the half squash over so the skin is on top (unlike the photo) and cut half inch slices so they end up looking like crescents. Yes, you’ll cook the skin too and it’ll be nice and soft.
3. Now it’s time to lay them out on the baking sheet. This is what it should look like:
4. Coat the crescents with olive oil. I use a squirt bottle, you can spray or just do a little pouring. Not too much.
5. We don’t cook with much salt, but I sprinkled some Herbamare over mine. You can use salt. A light touch either way.
6. Pop them in the oven for 10 minutes. The bottoms will brown up nicely and the skin will begin to soften. Remove the tray, turn the half moons so the browned side is now up. Turning is a trick–these little babies are slippery–I use a fork, M. uses his fingers.
7. And bake another 10 minutes. Taste. Are they tender enough? The skin has to be soft enough to eat.
8. If not turn and bake in 5 minutes total increments–keep tasting until they’re tender enough for you. You’ll love the nutty flavor.
I’d say this recipe makes about 4 modest servings. Here’s one, on a plate with a tasty balsamic marinaded chicken and an organic potato. Enjoy! NOW you can get out that wine!