I think delicata squash is my all time favorite squash. Better than acorn, better than butternut, kabocha and much better than pumpkin.
One of the restaurants in Marin County that we frequent - Picco - does a beautiful delicata squash dish which I have adapted for a quick weeknight side dish with a spicy & acidic kick.
The ease of delicata is that the skin of the squash is thin & edible, and the flesh cooks to fork tender very quickly and most importantly - it is delicious.
Also, don’t forget to save the seeds for roasting.
- 1 delicata squash, pick a firm & heavy squash, with as few blemishes as possible
- juice of 1/2 lime, reserve the other half
- high-heat vegetable oil, I prefer avocado oil but coconut or peanut would also work well
- chili-infused olive oil, place extra virgin oil in a bottle or jar and drop a handful of dried chilies into the bottle, allow the chilies to infuse the oil for at least a week and longer for a more intense flavor
- salt & cracked pepper
- roasting pan & oven
- optional - scallions & flat-leaf parsley
Preheat to 425 F.
Thoroughly wash the delicata squash since you will be leaving the skin on. I do suggest though that you use a potato peeler to scrape off any weird bumps. Cut off the ends & discard those into your compost.
Cut the squash length-wise and scoop out the seeds. Reserve the seeds in a bowl of water.
Place the squash flesh-side down onto your cutting board and then slice into 1/2 inch thick half-moon pieces.
Place the sliced squash into a shallow roasting pan (sheet pan or jelly roll pan) one layer deep with. Make sure not to crowd the pan, otherwise the squash will steam instead of roast. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of oil over the squash.
Sprinkle some salt and cracked pepper over the squash and give the slices a good toss to make sure all sides are coated with oil and seasoning.
Place the pan into the oven for 10-15 minutes. Oven temperatures can vary so keep an eye on the squash so that it doesn’t burn, you want to see nice caramelized edges.
Remove the the pan from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. Then transfer the squash to a serving dish.
Squeeze the juice of 1l2 a lime over the squash and a couple glugs of chili oil (or more to your taste) and give the slices a toss.
Garnish with the other half of the lime and chopped scallions and flat-leaf parsley if desired.
I have found that this dish is lovely both warm and cold. You can also turn it into a stand alone (vegetarian) meal by placing the squash atop some peppery greens like arugula for a warm, dressed salad.
And since this dish reheats beautifully by simply toasting at high heat in the oven for a few minutes, think about adding this to your thanksgiving table as a make-ahead side dish which is healthy and comforting.
Remember the seeds you saved? Now’s the time while your pan & oven are still hot & messy to roast them for a nutty treat. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Drain the water from the seeds and remove any pulp. Place the seeds onto a kitchen towel and pat dry.
Scatter the seeds into your roasting pan and toss with oil and salt. This time you can use a lower-heat oil like olive oil or safflower oil.
Spread the seeds out into a single layer. Then place the pan into the oven for approximately 15 minutes, tossing the seeds mid-way through. You’ll know they are ready to remove from the oven when they are just turning a golden brown.
Roasted pumpkin & squash seeds are great for a snack but also are a lovely garnish for soups & salads. So never throw those seeds away when you are cooking with the flesh.