Maple Roasted Squash

Sorry to be away so long, I’ve been missing this blog lately, but migraines, MRI’s, and doctor’s visits have kept me away (not to mention all the applesauce making and pork shoulder braising…) but today, on one of my first migraine-free days, I couldn’t resist it anymore, I had to post.  There’s a lot of stuff I want to tell you guys.

Squash

I recently found out about a fantastic food blog through the equally fantastic language blog, Language Hat.  This food blog, The Language of Food, is similar to Harold McGee’s Curious Cook in that it let’s me think about food and get my nerd on at the same time.  These types of blogs hold a special place in my Google Reader, and are read religiously because, while I adore great photography, and baking babies, studies in food really whet my appetite. (Hardy har har. Can you tell I’ve been totally out of it?)

Ready to be roasted.

Dan’s most recent post sparked my interest, and hunger, a few weeks ago.  The topic is dessert; he ate subjected himself to a bacon doughnut, and the experience spurred Dan’s thinking about the mixing of savory and sweet in desserts, and main courses, and about desserts in general.  I’d love to recount some of the insightful, educated things Dan says, but I think I mentioned the two weeks of migraines I just had, and well, brain don’t work so good.  So you’ll have to go there (go on, click) and read for yourself. (Please do, too, it’s a great read.)

Squash, peeled

The post got me thinking, in a much less articulate way, about my own food tastes.  I only recently started mixing sweet with savory.  As a kid, I didn’t understand applesauce with pork.  As a self-satisfied twenty year old, I thought that I had exceptionally nuanced tastebuds, and that was why I was so skimpy with the chutney I added to my cheese (my woefully unstinky cheese).  But recently, as adulthood continues to humble me, I realize I was all wrong.  It started with a dish of thyme roasted apples and onions (I promise to post it soon) that I could not get enough of.  I was giddy, ecstatic, repeating over and over to Jim how happy I was with this dish that I’d cooked (yes, I did say humble in the last sentence, so what?) I couldn’t believe how well the sweet apples played against the onions and thyme.  I made the dish over and over again.  And then I realized that I needed more of this sweet/savory combination.

Salt, pepper, maple, olive oil

Maple roasted squash was next.  I’d always thought squash was itself sweet enough, no maple syrup, or brown sugar, or marshmellows were needed.  But given my new-found love of sweet thyme roasted apples, maple roasted squash would be a test.  If I liked it, that would be it: I would forever be a girl who embraces sweet things with her savory courses. (I have big dreams, I know.)  The squash turned out lovely, subtly sweet; the maple syrup lending a warming quality, offset by the bits of charred edges and the round, clean flavor of olive oil, and,  totally autumnal.

Suffice it to say, I’m that girl.  A little sweeter than I used to be, and better off for it.

Maple Roasted Squash

Maple-Roasted Acorn Squash

This is hardly a recipe: I don’t want to give quantitative amounts because who am I to tell you what size squash to get?  Uniformity is not a squash’s strong suit, so don’t get too caught up with finding the perfectly sized one for your recipes.  Just go for an approximate size, and use your better judgement with the rest of the ingredients.  This particular recipe is forgiving; just start slow with the maple syrup, and remember that you can always add a touch more olive oil, or salt, to mellow out the flavor.

2 small acorn squash, peeled, cut in half, deseeded, and sliced
a glug or two of maple syrup
a more generous glugging (or two) of olive oil
a big pinch of salt
a big pinch, or grinding, of black pepper
chives, for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350F.  Have a baking sheet pan, lined with parchment paper or a silpat, ready.  In a large bowl, add the squash, maple syrup, olive oil, salt, and pepper and mix well with your hands.  Tip the contents of the bowl out onto the baking sheet, letting all the excess oil pour out, too.  Put the pan in the oven and bake to your desired donneness (I like mine a bit charred), anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.  Serve garnished with some snipped chives, if you like.

P.S. Have you heard that Barry Estabrook has started a blog?  He did. Cue ethical-meat-eater’s rejoice.

P.S.S. (Or is it P.P.S.?)  I have a Muntz fix for all you cat lovers, posted on my friend’s blog. You’re welcome. Update: More Muntz, this time it’s a video! (with sound)

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19 thoughts on “Maple Roasted Squash

  1. This looks delicious! I love the sweet/savory thing, it gets me every time. I’ve really been enjoying your blog, thanks for all the great recipes!

  2. really sorry to hear about the migraines… I feel for you and hope they’re gone soon.

    thanks SO much for the link to Jurafsky’s blog. it’s excellent, and I hope he keeps it up.

    I have an acorn squash that’s been sitting on the counter for a few weeks now. i think it’s time has come. thanks for the idea.

  3. Robin, I am so glad to hear that your migraines gave you a break and that you had the time to show us this beautiful treat. I have been roasting squash a lot recently, but I haven’t thought to add maple to it yet. This will definitely be my next experiment. I wish you a quick and continuous recovery, we miss you in blogosphere.

  4. Gads….get your nerd on is right for that blog you love so well! What is the word count of that post? Almighty……

    And squash. Love. Really love.

    Muntz. L.O.V.E. More ways of adorable than should be allowed, or legal.

    • Yeah, I think I read the whole post over the course of a week. It’s not one that you can blitz through at work…

      You’ve gotta check out the Muntz video! 🙂

  5. girl sometimes it’d be nice to reach out to fellow bloggers that are going through similar stuff! i’m sorry ur migraines have been harassing you. Glad ur better, even if for the day. Posting sure does help. I had to do the same this week. great looking squash. great color and seasonings! 🙂

  6. I’m sorry to hear about the migraines! I hope all the doctor’s visits and MRIs are making you feel better…at least you’ve got some delicious squash to soothe yourself. I’ve got a butternut squash that’s starting to get impatient about being cooked; maybe a coat of maple syrup and olive oil would make it feel better?

    Just out of curiosity, do you have a particular brand of olive oil you like?

    Your blog is as gorgeous as ever 🙂

    • Rose-Anne,

      Thank you, and while the doctor’s haven’t helped much yet, a Saturday at home in bed was nice. I think the butternut squash would enjoy it very much. 🙂

      My favorite brand of olive oil is Frantoia, but it’s expensive so I only use it to finish dishes or for salads. Right now I’m using Colavita to cook with, but I also often use Whole Foods 365 brand olive oIl (I like the Australian and Spanish varieties better than the Italian.)

      And Thank You SO much about the blog, I’ve been thinking (fretting) about it’s look a lot lately.

  7. Dana says:

    I never used to understand squash, but then I grew up in a house that didn’t eat or prepare it. One experience though, shared dorm room (suprisingly well pulled off in this friend’s environ) roasted acorn squash goodness with brown sugar and butter was a moment of love at first bite.

    I’m not entirely sure of the savory sweet option, but I think it will probably be worth a try.

    P.S. is for Post script (ie after the main body of text), so it would be P.P.S for post post script (for after the post script), that and post script script (P.S.S.) doesn’t really make sense.

    I hope the migraines don’t come back.

  8. Sili says:

    My tastebuds have developed (deteriorated?) a lot as I’ve grown old(er).

    Funny, I don’t think I’d ever have called those “squash”. “Squash” to me at elongated.

    • I’ve always associated winter squashes with the word “squash”, calling summer squashes “zucchini.” I guess that’s similar to some calling all varieties of winter squash “pumpkin.”

      • Sili says:

        Well, the problem obviously that my limited Danish experience doesn’t map directly onto English.

        Squash are elongated, relatively this things; pumpkins are more rotund. To me.

  9. I roasted butternut squash yesterday to use in a soup and it was so good I started eating a couple of pieces before dumping it into the actual soup I wanted to make!!

  10. I am so sorry about your migraines! Ugh. And already the overwhelming nature of so much to share/blog about… well, I am glad today was a good day. And your photos are amazing. I love pictures of squash, art of squash, the colors of fall. Time to hit the kitchen!

  11. i think sweet and savory is one of my fave flavor combos. not sure if you had a chance to read a recent piece we did on this (discussing chicken and waffles and why the maple syrup works so well w/ that dish) but also our maple syrup: fake vs. real taste test? you may be interested in it b/c i talk about my love for that bacon dipped in syrup thing i used to do w/ my pancakes when i was little. http://www.weareneverfull.com/whats-that-flavor-a-maple-syrup-taste-test-real-versus-fake/

    sorry for the migraines… great photos as usual.

  12. Sorry to hear about your migraines.I have had them since I was 13 and know how debilitating they can be. I hope you find something that works for you.And so glad you were able to get a break to concoct this great recipe- simple flavors are an elegant treat!

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