Wednesday, November 12, 2008
ROASTED ACORN SQUASH WITH GARLIC
This barely qualifies as a recipe, but it was still something of a revelation to me. Roasted squash is certainly nothing new, and acorn is a prime candidate, with its single-serving size, easy-to-cut-and-seed texture, and edible skin. Traditionally, roasted squash is prepared with sweet flavors, like butter and brown sugar, or spices, like cinnamon or curry, or some combination of the two. I grew up eating it with butter and brown sugar, although shamefully I was not much of a squash fan (it was a textural issue I’ve happily outgrown) and would only eat the small surface area that had come into direct contact with the sugar. Anyway, when I saw this idea at The Kitchn, I was immediately struck by its genius: throw a few peeled cloves of garlic into the shelter of the squash cavity as it bakes! Then you get two for the price of one—both roasted squash and the nutty, caramelized awesomeness of roasted garlic! When it comes out of the oven, just smoosh the garlic into the soft flesh of the squash and devour. I loved how the garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil all help to balance out the squash’s sweetness. As much as I love brown sugar and butter, this more savory treatment wins hands down in my book.
One note: I used a mix of small and large garlic cloves (I was in the process of finishing the teeny inner pieces of one head and starting with the huge outer pieces of another), and some of the bigger ones didn’t quite get as soft and squishy as I’d have liked, so I think it’s best to err on the side of small-to-medium cloves to make sure they cook through. (Or if you have only big cloves, maybe cut them in half?)
2 acorn squash
8–12 medium cloves garlic
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the strings and seeds. Place squash halves, skin side down, in a baking dish or on a baking sheet. Brush the tops of the squash (the flesh and especially the cavity) thoroughly with olive oil. Place two to three garlic cloves in each cavity and drizzle them with a little more oil (toss to make sure they are thoroughly coated). Sprinkle squash with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until squash flesh comes up easily when scraped gently with a fork, and garlic is soft and lightly browned. Let cool for a few minutes, then mash the garlic into the squash flesh with a fork or spoon before eating.
Time: 60 to 70 minutes
Leftover potential: OK.