The farmer’s market is quiet this time of year. The throngs of people vying for the best, biggest, greenest bunch of basil are gone, replaced instead by people looking to refresh their shower eucalyptus, poke through the apples that were picked months ago but through some sorcery are still crisp, and, well, winter squash enthusiasts (I’m a winter squash enthusiast).
It’s simultaneously winter squash season and it’s also… kind of not. The squash at the market, like the aforementioned apples, was probably picked months ago and stored in some cool, dark storage space. But at the same time, it’s cold outside. The sun sets ungodly early, and all I want is something warm and a little sweet and a lot comforting. Which, yes, hot chocolate fits the bill, but if I want the experience of hot chocolate in a vegetable form, winter squash usually does it.
If tomatoes were the Virgos of the produce world, consider winter squash the Capricorns. They won’t call you unexpectedly and invite you on a last-minute trip to a tropical island. They’ll respectfully text first, “Can I call you?”, and then ask if you want to go upstate, maybe in a few months, when the weather’s a little nicer. Much like Capricorns, winter squash is hardy, low maintenance, and honestly? A practical choice.
In the event that you have one too many winter squash in your home, or maybe you just need some cooking inspo to get you through the next few dreary weeks, try doing one of these with a squash!
High Heat and Something Wet
One of my favorite ways to eat squash is pretty much directly stolen from the restaurant Drifter’s Wife in Maine, where in 2019 I had the best solo meal of my life sitting at the bar, sipping a glass of white wine, and eating roasted squash drizzled with a salty peanut butter and tahini sauce, topped with some herbs. It was raining that day and also freezing (it was mid-October in Maine), but this dish warmed me right up.
If I’m roasting squash and I care about the presentation, I choose squash varieties that’ll look good sliced (delicata is a good option here). I don’t peel my delicata before roasting, mostly because I’m lazy, but also because the skin is usually really pretty! I do, however, cut it lengthwise down the middle and remove seeds (more on this later), and then slice those two pieces into small half-moons. The squash pieces get tossed with an ample amount of olive oil, and a little salt and pepper, and then get roasted until the flesh is …….