I’m not sure why, but recently I’ve been humming “When you wish upon a squash …” Perhaps it’s because I’m always looking for ways to eat more vegetables, especially veggies that are easy to make. At this time of year, when pumpkin and butternut squash seem to be everywhere, we really should give Delicata squash a little love.
I have a serious obsession with vegetables, as I’ve noted previously. Let’s confront one bitter truth, though—some veggies are annoying to prepare. I once watched my superstar caterer sister negotiate with fresh artichokes for what seemed like hours. Another time, we engaged in a three hour brussels sprouts and bacon event. All of it was amazing, but as someone who struggles to find time to sort my snail mail at night, variety can feel out of reach.
This is SO true for squash, isn’t it? I admire the butternut squash in the store, and then make my way straight to the pre-cut butternut cubes. I don’t even dare to consider fresh pumpkin because I can be clumsy in the kitchen. I have to be very careful around anything calling for sharp knives and hacking. My beloved pumpkin pies and custards are always made with the canned stuff.
With all this as background, I was beyond excited when I learned about Delicata squash. Easy to cut, clean, and roast, Delicata is a great way to get some veggie variety. No hacking required, and the skin is edible, which saves a lot of work! Simply cut it in half length-wise and scoop out the insides. From there, you can prepare it as is, like a little squash “boat,” or cut it into shapes. I like to cut it into little half moon shapes because it feels whimsical to me.
Roasting is a beautiful option for many veggies, and works well for Delicata. Now, this is where I’m supposed to include an amazing recipe. But you know what? I’m weary of kitchen edicts, rules, and restrictions. I’m a lawyer by training, which means all kinds of precision and quotation marks and footnotes, all day long. Someone once said about me that “Ann speaks in footnotes.” Oh my. So let’s kick off our shoes and experiment, shall we?
The most basic approach: cut the squash the way you want it and gently toss or brush with a tablespoon or so of olive oil. I have a covered pyrex dish that is great for this – I add a drizzle of oil, cover, and give it a little shake to coat everything evenly. Add salt, pepper, and/or any seasonings to taste, and roast at 375 F for about 25-30 minutes, turning once half way through the cooking cycle. Cook more or less to your own preferences.
Delicata has a rich, creamy texture, so it tastes great with just cinnamon and a touch of salt. I also really like it with cumin. I experimented with adding fresh herbs, but it didn’t do much for me, so I decided it wasn’t worth the effort.
I hope Delicata earns a role in your Fall squash rotation, if you are so inclined. But please, let’s hope there’s no emerging trend of Delicata lattes, bread, lotion, or lip balm! Because the annual pumpkin obsession is getting to be a bit much, isn’t it?