Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fast, Starchy, Yummy Squash

Deborah Madison has a great explanation on Culinate of why you never actually cook some of the foods you well-intentionedly buy, and royally enticing ideas for to do with big ass winter squash when you finally get around to tackling them (fried squash with butter, blue cheese and pepper? Yes, please). I love this article because I have long considered squash to be a rewarding but laborious ordeal, and tend to avoid cooking it. But as inspiring as Deborah's ideas are, I still have less patience than is required to break down a 12-pound squash. Luckily, I have figured out (with help from a certain Schweitzer) a sort of fast food version. Fast food in that it provides  instant gratification, and also in that it's salty, starchy, oily and sweet in a total late night drunk food kind of way.

Delicata squash is small and relatively tender so it's easy to cut up, and if you slice it thin it cooks up fast. It has this amazingly beautiful, deep flavor that really comes out when you roast it at high heat.

Fast Food Delicata Squash

1. Preheat the oven to 425F or so. Take a delicata squash and halve it the hot dog way. Scoop out the seeds and stringy junk with a spoon. (If you're feeling resourceful, save the seeds to toast.) Take each half and slice it into thin Cs, about 1/4" to 1/2" thick.

2. Oil a pan with any kind of high-heat oil, butter or spray oil. Throw in the squash Cs and drizzle more oil on top of them, or spray with spray oil (recipe has not been tested with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Spray, but it worked well with Pam). Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly. Alternately, you can just throw the squash in there with a chunk of butter, which will melt in the oven and then you can toss everything to coat.

3. Stick it in the oven. I'm not sure how long it takes. My general guideline for roasting is to put it in there and forget about it, and then when it starts to smell yummy and you remember there's something in the oven, go give it a toss and leave it in for another few minutes until amply brown. Maybe 10 or 20 minutes total for delicata squash.

4. When it's almost there, you can turn the heat up to broil to get the tops nice and caramelized. This only takes a couple minutes so keep an eye on it. When it looks awesome, remove from the oven and eat immediately. Add a fried egg or two and you have a super bachelor-style but awesome, cheap, healthy dinner.

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