I'm always excited by the gourd pile that makes an appearance in supermarkets in the fall. The prosaic butternut and acorn squashes are suddenly accompanied by kabocha, turban squash, cheese pumpkin, and so forth. But my absolute favorite is a little-known squash called delicata. It is oblong with narrow green stripes, and there are several reasons to love it. First, the flavor is remarkable, reminiscent of sweet corn. Second, they are relatively small as I hate having to buy squash where a single one feeds a medium-sized army. Third, you can eat the skin! Not that I love to eat the skin, but rather I hate to peel squash.
I suggested a spaghetti squash casserole as an alternative to sweet potato on Thanksgiving. However, for those who must have a sweet-flavored orange vegetable, delicata is an admirable choice. It's higher-carb than spaghetti squash but still a much better choice than sweet potato. Butternut squash puree might be an option but if we're already serving mashed cauliflower that's too much mushy food on one plate for me. You could roast chunks of any squash, but as I stated above, using delicata alleviates the chef of having to peel.
On the right side is squash that I roasted for myself with a spritz of olive oil, red onion, rosemary, and balsamic. I used white balsamic so you can't really see the sticky glaze. On the left is what I made for my husband with butter and maple. He reacted so favorably it was like watching an Herbal Essences commercial so if you can spare the carbs and fat, I guess I'd say make it that way.
ROAST DELICATA WITH ROSEMARY
- 1 delicata squash, halved, seeds scooped out, and cut into 1/4" thick half-moons
- 1 Tbs fresh rosemary, minced
- Salt to taste
WITH BALSAMIC AND RED ONION
- 1/2 red onion, cut into chunks
- Olive oil spray
- 4 Tbs butter, melted
- 2 Tbs maple syrup