11 January 2011

Veggie Christmas Continues in the New Year: Roasted Acorn Squash with Chile Vinaigrette Recipe

Because I indulged in holiday treats a little more than I probably should have, I've decided to shed those extra pounds by declaring Veggie Christmas a year-long holiday. For weeks I've had an acorn squash lying around, staring me down, begging to be cooked. I finally listened and found a simple squash recipe in Gourmet Today.

The dish is full of balanced contrasts in flavors, textures and colors. The sweet squash, spicy chile and tart lime provide varied taste sensations. The squash is roasted until crispy on one side, offering an exciting alternative to its otherwise smooth and creamy flesh. The plate is vibrant with orange squash, green cilantro, and flecks of red hot chile.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Chile Vinaigrette; serves 4 as side
Adapted from Gourmet Today: More than 1000 All-New Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen, Edited Ruth Reichl (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009)

1 acorn squash
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon lime juice
1-3 whole hot chiles, dried or fresh,  finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

+Put racks in top and bottom thirds of oven. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

+Halve and seed squash. Remove squash ends. Cut in sections along ridges, about 1 inch at widest part.
+In large bowl, combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper and 2 teaspoons oil. Dip squash pieces into this mixture, making sure the pepper flakes stick to the squash.
+Place squash on cookie sheet with one cut side down, the other facing up.
+Roast on top rack 13 minutes, then transfer to lower rack until squash segments are golden brown on side facing down, about 25-35 minutes total time in oven.

+As the squash roasts, mince garlic and mash it with 1/4 teaspoon salt to form a paste.
+In a small bowl whisk together garlic paste, lime juice, cilantro and 3 tablespoons oil.

+Once squash is cooked, allow it to cool briefly. With a knife, remove peel.
+Arrange squash on serving plate and dress with chile vinaigrette. Serve with additional peppers for those who like it hot.

Cooking Notes:
I accidentally roasted the squash until the bottoms looked burned and almost cut off the brown part. Luckily I tried it first and found they were perfectly crunchy and tasted delicious as was.

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