Thursday, August 25, 2011

Minimum Size, Maximum Flavor

First official butternut squash of the season. It was relatively small in size, but big on flavor. I lost a couple of squash to raccoons before this lovely specimen made it to full term, so I'm really thrilled to see the squash plant has begun to stretch its legs in the garden and develop a lot more fruit.

It needed much more space and was happy for the room once I cleared the Russian Blue potatoes out of that bed.

There are about ten blossoms forming fruit already.


Although small, that mini-squash had plenty of flesh inside. Enough for a large side dish of roasted, candied squash. I keep the recipe for the dish fairly simple so that I'll make it frequently.

I peel the squash first, clean out the seeds, (which I reserve for later) and basically chop the meaty flesh into bite-sized squares. Drizzle with butter, a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover with foil and bake. Anywhere from 325 degrees to 375 degrees, depending on what else is in the oven. Halfway through the baking I remove the foil, sprinkle brown sugar over the squash, or maybe maple syrup, (sometimes both) and finish roasting until I see some nice caramelized edges. I can't give you a definite time for baking because it really depends on how small you chop the squares. Count on around 20 minutes at least. Smaller squares, faster baking. Check frequently once you add the sugar.

The reserved seeds become a great little snack for later. Like pumpkin seeds, I soak them in a salty brine and roast them in a toaster oven for snacking. Waste not, want not. Delicious.

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