Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Delicata - The Best Winter Squash

Aside from being absolutely delicious, my favorite winter squash (the delicata variety, pictured on the left above) stand out among all winter varieties because you do not have to peel them! The skin of a delicata squash is so thin it is edible, making preparation of it very easy. I thinly slice these, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them. The roasted squash can be added to anything you like! One of my favorite combinations is a green salad with roasted delicata squash, quick pickled red onions, toasted nuts (walnuts, peanuts or pumpkin seeds) and a curry vinaigrette.

Delicata squash are available at most farmers' markets right now, and in some local grocery stores.

Roasted Delicata Squash
2 baking sheets

3 delicata squash - cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
you can also add spices such as curry, chili pepper, or cumin

Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  1. Slice squash into 1/4inch thick half circle slices
  2. Toss with olive oil until evenly coated
  3. Toss with salt and pepper to taste, adding other spices if desired
  4. Place in an even layer on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Roast in the oven until lightly browned, about 40 minutes. Rotate part way through and checking for browning on the bottom side. 

Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash, Pickled Red Onions and Peanuts
If you want to try out this salad:

(in this recipe use red onions, they will turn a gorgeous pink color and omit the basil)

2. Make a basic Vinaigrette and add some curry powder and a drizzle of honey

3. Wash and dry some delicious salad greens: a variety of lettuces, dandelion or mustard greens.

4. Toast nuts or pumpkin seeds in the oven or in a frying pan until fragrant. 

5. Toss the greens with dressing and pickled onions. Top with roasted squash and nuts, enjoy!

While you have the oven on, you might as well go ahead and roast an acorn squash (shown above, split, seeded and placed face down on a baking sheet with 1/2 cup of water. Or, roast some sweet potato wedges or anything else you have in the fridge, make the most of having the oven on and get a jump on your next meal. 

What do you like to roast?

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