oct 17, 2020

Butternut Beauty

Winter squash season is upon us. Lured by butternut’s siren cry at the market, we bundled one home. Although it would keep for months in our cool(ish), dry pantry, we wanted to eat some right away! One hiccup in our plans: it’s hot in San Francisco this week, so we needed an alternative to cranking up our oven to roasting temp as we normally might.
Enter one of our favorite cookbooks ever: Six Seasons, by chef Joshua McFadden (with Martha Holmberg). This James Beard Award winning book captures this time of year (and all times of year, for that matter) beautifully, as demonstrated in this recipe: Raw Winter Squash with Brown Butter, Pecans, and Currants.
Serving squash sliced thin and raw in various salad preparations gets at the essence of the evolving season in California, when mild October days juxtaposed with already abundant Winter squash remind us that these hearty beauties are more versatile than they often get credit for.
A few pointers for working with butternut and making this recipe:
  • We usually cut butternut squash into two sections for easier knife work. We slice the longer neck portion from the lower, bulbous part containing all the seeds, then deal with them separately.
  • For this recipe, in which the squash is shaved into thin ribbons, we advise a novel approach: Peel off the skin (all the way down to the deeply colored flesh; the pale stuff lacks flavor) and cut just a sliver off one side to make a safer, sturdy base, leaving the butternut largely intact. It is then easy to peel in long strips, rotating the squash often so the strips don’t get too wide. With strategic peeling, you’ll eventually be left with just the chamber of seeds and a pile of pretty orange squash ribbons. Ta da!
  • We plan to substitute dried cranberries for the currants when we include this on our Thanksgiving table. It will be a refreshing dish to offset those decadent roasted, mashed and saucy parts of our favorite annual feast.
However you’re enjoying the shifting seasons, we’re here for your questions and comments! Please stay in touch.

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