03 Oct butternut squash: wedges and crisps
If you’re passing by your local allotment or a neighbour’s garden patch, have a peek in and see if you can spot any of their winter squashes coming along. We love the bright oranges and greens of the winter squash family as it represents to us the beginning of autumn. We love the comforting ingredients that come into their own in parallel with the changing colours of the leaves on our trees; the mushrooms, the apples and the pears really make this one of the tastiest times of the year. This week, we’ve put together two butternut squash recipes to help you celebrate the change of seasons.
You can use one butternut squash to create these two recipes. The crisps need the thin stem part of the vegetable while the wedges need its barrel-shaped bottom.
Butternut Squash Crisps
One of the greatest revelations in our kitchen life to date has been the discovery of how simple it is to make your own vegetable crisps. Try this recipe with parsnisp, beetroots or carrots. You’ll be kind of sorry (not sorry) you did.
1 butternut squash with a long stem and a nice fat barrel-shaped bottom
1 litre of vegetable oil
1. Slice the butternut squash at the point where the stem reaches the barrel-shaped bottom of the squash. You will only need the thinner, seedless stem part for this recipe so set aside the barrel-shaped bottom part of the squash for our wedges recipes.
2. Peel the stem of the butternut squash. Using a mandoline, slice the stem into very, very thin slices. You can use a regular knife and just work slowly to slice it as thinly as possible. This will help them crisp up properly in the cooking oil.
3. Meanwhile, pour your vegetable oil into a large heavy bottomed pot. Heat very carefully over a medium to high heat until the oil is at about 150c. Test the oil with a piece of bread. It’s ready if the bread fries nicely golden brown within under a minute.
4. Use a slotted spoon to very carefully place a few of the thin slices of butternut squash into the hot oil. Do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pot. Turn the butternut squash slices over a few times during frying and let them bubble away for a 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with the slotted spoon and set aside on kitchen paper towel to dry out and crisp up.
5. If your butternut squash crisps aren’t crisp enough for you (this can happen if you haven’t used a mandolin and weren’t able to really thinly slice the butternut squash), finish the crisps off in your oven for 20 minutes at 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4.
6. Once cooled, serve your butternut squash with a generous sprinkling of sea salt. You’re welcome.
Butternut Squash Wedges (serves 2 as a side)
You can use the whole butternut squash in this recipe, which is very easily doubled, but we like to use one butternut squash to make the wedges and the crisps, making this humble vegetable go rather a long way.
1 butternut squash (just the barrel-shaped bottom part will do)
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
Half a teaspoon of chilli flakes
50g of bacon lardons
50g of walnuts
Handful of finely grated Parmesan cheese, to serve
1. Pre-heat your oven to 200c/180c fan/gas mark 6.
2. Slice the bottom of the butternut squash in half and remove any seeds. You can peel the skin if you like but we quite like to leave the skin on for this roasted recipe.
3. Slice the two halves of the butternut squash into wedges about 2cm thick. You should get about 8 wedges, depending on the size of the butternut squash.
4. Put the squash in a roasting tray and drizzle with the vegetable oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the chilli flakes and mix well.
5. Roast in your oven for 25 minutes.
6. Add the bacon lardons to the roasting dish, mixing well with the squash, and roast in the oven for a further 5 minutes.
7. Add the walnuts to the roasting dish, mixing well with the squash and bacon, and roast in the oven for a further 3 to 5 minutes. You want the squash to be cooked through, the bacon to be crispy and the walnuts to have had time to soak up all that flavour and get a little toasty themselves.
8. Transfer to a serving plate and finish with a sprinkling of the grated Parmesan cheese. This side dish would be lovely with any autumnal roast meat dish but is lovely enjoyed on its own as a light lunch.
These recipes first appeared in Insider Magazine in The Irish Independent on October 2nd