Delicata Squash

Posted on November 3, 2014 by in Blog, Recipes

Recipes: Delicata Squash for Fall and Winter

Squash is a true American food, indigenous to North and South America. Native Americans introduced European settlers to squash. The name comes from the Native American word “askutesquash.” There are two basic types: summer (thin-skinned with juicy flesh) and winter (thick-skinned with denser flesh). All squash is a nutritional bargain. Relatively low in calories, it is high in minerals and vitamins A, C and E, a good source of calcium, antioxidants and beta carotene.

Although we cook squash as if it were a vegetable (side dishes, soups, casseroles, baked, fried, pureed) it is (as are tomatoes) a fruit. Botanically speaking fruits have seeds on the inside. Of course, we do put winter squash into baked goods such as quick breads and muffins, and the dense orange varieties such as butternut and acorn are even good in pies and cheesecakes.

All that being said, delicata is one of my family’s favorites. It is oblong with a pale yellow skin and green markings and varies in size from five to nine inches long. Delicata squash is a winter squash, even though it belongs to the same species as all summer squashes such as patty pan, zucchini and yellow crookneck squash. Perhaps that accounts for its delicate, sweet flavor and tender, juicy flesh.

Following are two of the recipes I developed for delicata that deliver great flavor for very little work.

Baked Delicata Squash

Makes: 4 servings

This makes a great side dish for meat, fish or poultry, and can be served hot from the oven or at room temperature. The skin is even edible!

1 delicata squash

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup or brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Wash delicata squash. Cut lengthwise in half. Scoop out seeds and discard.

Cut squash into ½ inch semi circles.

Combine olive oil and maple syrup or brown sugar in a medium bowl. Add squash to bowl and mix well to coat.

Lay squash flat on jelly roll pan or cookie sheet.

Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and, using spatula, gently turn squash over. Bake until squash is cooked through and soft, an additional 20 minutes.

Delicata Squash with Cranberries

Makes 4 servings

The natural cavity in the squash invites stuffing. In fall I like to fill delicata with fresh cranberries. When the fresh cranberry season ends there are always frozen cranberries.

1 delicata squash

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

2/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon apricot preserves

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Wash squash. Cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and discard.

Lay squash skins side down in square or rectangular pan. Using a pastry brush, coat cut side of squash well with oil.

In a small bowl, combine cranberries, apricot preserves, and brown sugar. Stir to mix well.

Fill squash cavities with the cranberry mixture. Cover. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes.