I’m back! Marc and I participated in a kind of herbalism class for the past year and a half, that was held in one week segments. It was an incredible experience on 70 acres of redwood forest in the mountains above Santa Cruz. This was our final week, so it was poignant and beautiful, but it was hard to leave a class full of dear ones who have become family. But, now we are back, jumping into the world again, and I’m preparing my next menu for my personal chefing client. So…on with the food posts… 🙂
During my semiweekly pilgrimage to the farmers market, I always check in with David and Jill from Crescent Moon Farm about that week’s harvest goodies. A couple weeks ago, David suggested I pick up a few hard winter squash. He and Jill had roasted some and found that they were tender and sweet.
Winter squash should really be a staple of your diet in the colder months. They have a ton of vital nutrients including beta carotene (it’s what makes it orange), B vitamins, and some vitamin C and potassium. So not only are they sweet, tasty and satisfying, they are incredibly good for you. Crescent Moon was out of Delicatas, which tend to be my favorite, but they had mini pumpkins called “Jack be Little” and Sweet Dumplings. (jack be nimble, jack be quick, jack jump over the candlestick…)
I love how the long shadows on these beauties look so autumnal.
Tonight we had lots of good veggies in the fridge, but I was a little uninspired, so it was sort of a hodge podge of a dinner. I knew I wanted to roast the winter squash, and just sort of threw together some corn tortilla quesadillas with beans, and salad and decided to broil some Romanesco summer squash as well. Without planning it exactly, all three sisters (corn, beans and squash) were present.
I had baked the winter squash for about 40 minutes, when I put the broiler on for the summer squash. I figured the heat from the broiler would continue to bake the winter squash. Then I took the summer squash out for a few minutes to flip them, and the broiler ended up browning the tops of the hard winter squash below. I was concerned the broiler would burn the winter squash, but all was well in the end.
In fact, since I had put a pat of butter into each pumpkin and sweet dumpling half, the broiler caramelized the milk sugars and created nutty, rich brown butter. What a serendipitous accident! One that I would absolutely repeat, and you really should try. Since it just happened, and I haven’t tried it out again, I’m going to wing the recipe.
Let me know if you try it, and how it works out. I’ll modify the recipe if I need to, the next time I make it. Also, our broiler is in the main oven, so I was able to use a glass baking dish because it was almost 12 inches from the flame. Not all broilers/ovens are set up like that, so plan for this in advance by using a broiler-safe baking dish, or transfer them to a cookie sheet when you broil them. So, here goes:
“Recipe” for Roasted Winter Squash with Brown Butter
1 (about fist sized) winter squash per person cut in half across the middle (at the equator)
1 Tablespoon butter per half of winter squash
salt to taste
Preheat oven to 375. Scoop out the seeds and stringy guts, but leave the good hard flesh. Place them in a baking dish, cut side up. Pour two to three inches of water in the bottom of the baking dish, but not in the squash themselves. Put a pat of butter in each squash half, and salt lightly.
Roast in the oven 40-60 minutes depending on size of squash and thickness of flesh. Poke them in the middle and around the edges, with a fork, at about 30 minutes to check how tender they are getting, and make sure there is still enough water.
When they are easily fork tender, broil for maybe 2 to 3 minutes. Keep an eye on them, because things burn and get ruined in the broiler in the blink of an eye. When the butter is browned and bubbly, serve and enjoy. Definitely scrumptious, and super simple.
Great for a holiday side dish or anytime for a hearty meal. You could even scoop out all the flesh and brown butter and turn it into an amazing soup with some sage. Ooooo, I’ll have to do that. I’ll report about it if I do.