Tuesday, October 23, 2012

New Recipes From A to Z: A is for Acorn Squash

 Here is number two in my quest to cook a new food starting with every letter of the alphabet. Yes, I know number two should be "B", but if you missed my previous post, Brussels sprouts were on sale last week, so I started with "B".

 I had never cooked, or to my knowledge, eaten, acorn squash before. It just never seemed appealing. But it's a popular autumn produce item, so when I saw it on sale cheap, I thought, "Here's my 'A' recipe!" Then I had to figure out what to do with it.

 Most of the recipes I looked up were variations of the same thing: cut it in half, put butter and brown sugar, or maple syrup, or both, on each half, and bake. Seemed a little sweet for my taste, I like my side dishes savory. Then I found Roasted Parmesan Acorn Squash on www.doitdelicious.com. Not only was it a savory recipe, but the instructions were clear and simple, assuming (correctly) I had no idea what to do with this gourd.
 First, with a sharp chef's knife, cut the ends off, then slice it lengthwise. Scoop out all the seeds and pulp with a spoon. (The look, and smell, of this step reminded me of preparing a jack o'lantern. I felt I should be carving a face into this thing instead of trying to eat it.) Then, slice each side into half moon slices. Drizzle slices with olive oil (rub it in for good coverage) and sprinkle each side with coarse sea salt, ground pepper and Parmesan cheese shreds. There were actually specific measurements for these ingredients, but I almost never measure out salt and pepper exactly, I just sprinkle on what looks right to me. Same with the cheese.

 Then just roast in the oven at 425 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. I went 40, I wanted to make sure it was done. The cheese got a little too brown and crispy, but it didn't seem to hurt the flavor any.

Here's the pic from doitdelicious.com

Here's my finished product. Nailed it!

  The adult verdict for this recipe was "keeper." The squash part was soft and squashy, the skin/rind was slightly crispy, the roasting in olive oil brought out a slightly nutty flavor that went well with the cheese, and the cracked pepper added just enough of a spicy 'pop.' (FYI, before this I had no idea you could eat the outside of these. It doesn't look at all edible in its raw form.)

 The six year old ate two bites and asked if he could be done. I told him you don't know if like something until you eat three bites (standard procedure at our house). He ate a third bite and said he still didn't like it - surprising, since he loved pureed squash as a baby. Speaking of babies, the two-year-old has yet to give her opinion. She was having a very 'two' night - crying and throwing food - so she can try some leftovers at lunch tomorrow. I have high hopes for this being the first vegetable she'll eat! Assuming it is a vegetable - or is it a fruit? I'm too tired to look it up tonight.

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