Susan S. Yeske: Dining In - Recipe of the Week

In season for squash, delicata stands out

Delicata squash are currently in season and shown here piled high at Manoff Market Gardens in Solebury.

This is the season of winter squash, when we make it into soups, bake it into quick breads and use it for side dishes and pies. The varieties are many, and they come in different shapes, sizes and colors.

Best known are butternut and acorn, but just as nutritious and easier to prepare is the delicata squash, which is fully edible and doesn’t have to be peeled.

Cheerfully striped in bright yellow, dark green, and orange, delicata squashes weigh less than a pound and are great for stuffing and roasting. They can be a side dish for any meal or become the centerpiece for a vegan or vegetarian entree.

While not as rich in beta-carotene as other winter squashes, delicata is a good source of dietary fiber and potassium and contains vitamins C and B, magnesium, and manganese.

Because the peel is quite thin, delicata squash don’t store as well as many of the harder winter squashes, which can last for months. But this has been a good year for them locally and they will be around at least until Christmas, said Amy Manoff of Manoff Market Gardens in Solebury.

Manoff said she likes to add chunks of delicata to vegetable soups and appreciates that it doesn’t have to be pureed like acorn and butternut squashes.

When sliced thinly enough and sautéed in a little olive oil and butter, the rind of delicata squash takes on a firm but al dente texture while the interior gets creamy.

Recipes often call for delicata to be baked or roasted, but this one from is a simple sauté dish. Peel them if you prefer, but it’s not necessary.

Sauteed Delicata Squash with Parmesan
2 delicata squash, about ½ pound each
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
dash of nutmeg
Sea salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Using a chef's knife, cut each squash in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp. Cut off the stem end. Using a mandoline slicer, cut the squash halves into thin slices, between 1/16 and 1/8-inch thick. If you don't have a mandoline slicer, you can do this with a chef's knife.

2. In a large nonstick pan, heat the olive oil and butter together until the butter melts. Swirl to completely coat the bottom of the pan. Add the squash and sauté, stirring frequently and turning squash over to cook evenly, until the squash is darkened and almost translucent, and the rind can be easily cut with a butter knife.

It will take about 10 to 14 minutes for the squash to cook completely. Use a nutmeg grater to sprinkle the squash lightly with grated nutmeg, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Transfer the squash to a serving plate and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve hot or warm.


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